Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
Acting Deputy Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
February 12, 2020
Thank you, Mr. President. First off, I’d like to thank the United Kingdom as penholder for proposing this draft resolution that was just adopted. However, I do want to note that we are disappointed that today’s vote did not garner unanimous support among the Council members, despite commitments agreed to by leaders in Berlin, including the Russian Federation.
It’s also very unfortunate that foreign mercenaries, including from the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group, are making an inclusive political solution harder to achieve. These actions undermine achieving a political solution facilitated by the UN, and does not help the Libyan parties come together, as was stated was necessary. However, through the resolution just adopted, the UN Security Council answers the call of the Libyan people for the international community to stop using their country to wage conflict, to stop driving Libyans from their homes, to help foster respect for international humanitarian law and the need for unhindered, life-saving humanitarian access, and to support their desire for democratic governance; to let schools re-open and health centers restock.
In voting to adopt this resolution, the United States emphasizes the need for additional accountability for those member states that continue to violate the arms embargo, in spite of the explicit commitments made in Berlin – violations that continued immediately following the Berlin Conference. External actors must stop fueling the conflict. Countries that participated in the Berlin conference committed to respect the arms embargo – promises made by the highest level of government. This resolution makes clear that now is the time for all member states to comply with the UN arms embargo.
The United States also reiterates its call for de-escalation and the immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces, including foreign mercenaries and fighters. It is deeply regrettable that despite commitments made at the Berlin Conference, again, some countries, including from around this table, and others mentioned in the Panel of Experts report, continue to send military equipment and personnel to Libya. We remain concerned about reports that forces affiliated with both the Libyan National Army and the Government of the National Accord, are contemplating significant military action in the near future. Whether offensive or preemptive in nature, such actions would violate the understandings reached in Berlin. This resolution clearly supports UNSMIL’s important steps to have both the LNA and GNA agree to deescalate and take active steps to establish a lasting ceasefire through ongoing 5+5 Joint Military Commission talks. These talks should continue unimpeded.
The United States also condemns the grave threat to Libya’s unity and to the wellbeing of the Libyan people posed by the shutdown of Libyan oil and gas facilities by the Libyan National Army. Libya’s energy resources belong to its people, and underly Libya’s economic wellbeing. This Council has previously made clear that no party should use these resources as a political bargaining chip. These facilities must be reopened without preconditions. Economic issues are core drivers of the ongoing conflict, and Libya’s resources and revenues must also be distributed transparently and equitably for the benefit of all Libyan people.