Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement by HR/VP Borrell – United Nations Security Council: Open VTC on the situation in Libya

New York , 08/07/2020 - 21:18, UNIQUE ID: 200708_27
Statements on behalf of the EU

8 July 2020, New York - Statement by H.E. Mr. Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy, Vice President of the European Commission, at the Security Council Open VTC on the situation in Libya


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Mr. President, dear Heiko, Honourable Members of the Security Council, many thanks for having invited the European Union to a debate on an issue so much relevant for us

The protracted conflict in Libya caused immense suffering for all Libyans and has become a major challenge for the region and ultimately the international community.

As European Union, we believe it is high time to put an end to this military conflict, right on our doorstep, and manage a proper transition in Libya. We must preserve the country as one single Libya - a united, stable, prosperous and reliable partner for all.

This meeting brings together all countries which have the capacity, if genuinely committed, to contribute to a political transition in Libya. We all took strong commitments in the Berlin conference in January; it is now time to translate our words into concrete actions. We need to work collectively, under a strong UN leadership, to implement truly the conclusions of Berlin, that everybody accepted. The polarisation, which has turned Libya into a theatre of proxy wars, needs to stop. Actions in support of one or the other Libyan party fuel the conflict, and some constitute clear provocations. Unilateral initiatives go against the spirit of the consensual international dialogue which Libya urgently needs and which we need to encourage.

Excellencies, we must go back to our Berlin-commitments, starting with the enforcement of the UN arms embargo, which unfortunately continues to be violated on all sides and every day, in all impunity, as we heard from the UN and as Heiko has recalled. And we need a collective effort to favour the return of the Libyan parties to the negotiating table, starting with the UN-led 5+5 military talks to reach an agreement on a sustainable ceasefire.  And we support the initiative to de-militarise the conflict around Sirte and Jufra.

We, the European Union, are doing our part. I have promoted a strong EU commitment to the Berlin process, to respect and implement what we all agreed. That is why we launched Operation Irini, with core tasks to implement the UN arms embargo and to stop the flow of weapons into Libya, as well as to monitor oil smuggling. We are reporting regularly to the UN Panel of Experts on the basis of the mandate given by the UN Security Council. It is also clear that control of arms flow into Libya requires action beyond the maritime domain. But, for that, the UNSC should enlarge the mandate.

As co-chair of the Economic group, we also hope to find a sustainable solution for the exploitation of oil resources in Libya, a key issue in the conflict, which is directly linked to the increasing build-up of presence in Sirte. And that is of utmost importance, all of the European help to Libya is the equivalent of the oil revenues that Libya could generate in one week.

Later this month, we will co-host the next international follow-up committee on Libya, where these discussions can continue.

Excellencies, colleagues, we need to work towards these goals together, stop all interferences fuelling the conflict and join forces to support an inclusive, Libyan-owned and Libyan-led process leading to a political solution.

I thank for your attention.

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