Delivered By: H.E. Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative
Check against delivery
At the outset, we would like to thank the Special Representative, Mr. Abdoulaye Bathily, for his thorough briefing and we welcome Ambassador Al-Sunni in our meeting today.
We would also like to affirm the UAE’s support to the Special Representative’s proposal to establish a High-level steering panel for Libya. We hope that this proposal will achieve the goals and consensus sought by the Libyans. For these steps to succeed and translate into action on the ground, the international community must show collective support, free from geopolitical tension. It also requires full cooperation from the Libyan people. We also affirm the need to consult and coordinate with the Libyans on the proposal.
Twelve years have passed since the events of 17 February, which provided an opportunity for change as well as a transition to a new phase in Libya’s history. However, the Libyan people have since had to live through deep divisions, complex alliances, and community divisions. Therefore, this year’s anniversary offers an important opportunity to remember the suffering and difficulty endured by this Arab country, to learn lessons from the past and turn the page on it, and to put its national interest above all other considerations.
Libya was only a few steps away from holding elections. For reasons known to all, the date of the elections was postponed. Since then, the concerned parties have fallen into successive and endless rounds of consultations to reach an agreement on a constitutional basis. This has not only prolonged the process and made it repetitive, but it has also taken a turn which does not serve the national interest of the Libyan people. Therefore, we do not see a way out of this political impasse other than coming together and supporting Mr. Bathily’s efforts towards enabling Libyans to reach a Libyan-owned political settlement – one that is acceptable to the parties, leads to holding simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections this year, and results in the establishment of a unified government.
We applaud the important role played by the neighboring countries of Libya in bringing diverging views closer together, particularly the efforts of the Arab Republic of Egypt with the support of the UN Mission. We also stress the need to promote the full, equal, and meaningful participation of Libyan women in all aspects of the political process, such as those related to the elections and next steps in this regard. We also emphasize the need to ensure the protection of women and girls against violence, including online. We further stress the importance of involving youth in the political processes, considering their pivotal role in building and sustaining peace. We therefore welcome the inclusiveness of the proposed mechanism by the Special Representative to strengthen the participation of women and youth.
In conjunction with the efforts made to reach a comprehensive political settlement that ends the transitional periods, we must continue advancing the path of comprehensive and just national reconciliation to ensure sustainable peace in Libya. Accordingly, the UAE reaffirms its support for the efforts of the Libyan Presidential Council, the African Union, and UNSMIL, including through the Preparatory Forum for the National Reconciliation Conference. We look forward to the next steps in the implementation of the national reconciliation strategy with the participation of all parties.
Continuing to respect the ceasefire agreement is essential for maintaining stability throughout Libya. It is encouraging that the meetings of the 5 + 5 Joint Military Commission are continuing with the participation of representatives from neighboring countries as well as local and international ceasefire monitors under the auspices of the UN Mission. Their efforts must be accompanied by the implementation of the remaining elements of the ceasefire agreement and by taking serious steps on the ground towards unifying the military institution in Libya. We support the efforts aimed at creating a joint military force as a basis for achieving unity.
The UAE also reiterates its request for a simultaneous, phased, gradual, and balanced withdrawal of foreign forces, foreign fighters, and mercenaries, in order to achieve peace and stability in Libya. We welcome the establishment of a joint coordination mechanism for collecting and exchanging data on this matter.
To ensure security throughout Libya, combating terrorism and maintaining the gains made in countering extremism must remain a priority. Furthermore, the measures and tools adopted by this Council should not impede national efforts by the Libyan forces to address security threats, especially in southern Libya.
We also note that restoring stability in Libya will support the security and stability of all countries in the region, especially the neighboring countries. As such, we support regional efforts aimed at addressing irregular migration, while taking into account Libyan and African concerns. The international community must provide support to the countries of origin, as well as countries of transit, to address the root causes of migration.
Despite the laudable efforts made by the relevant authorities to keep pace and address the various challenges facing Libya, more steps must be taken to improve “the program of disclosure, transparency and governance”, especially with regard to expenditures. This will ensure the equitable distribution of resources, preservation of vital institutions, and the protection and preservation of the assets of the Libyan people for future generations. This is particularly important in the context of the Secretary-General’s reference in his report to Da’esh’s exploitation of the current situation on the ground to generate revenue through smuggling oil.
In conclusion, the UAE affirms its solidarity with the Libyan people and supports their endeavors to live in safe and prosperous country that paves the way for a peaceful future full of opportunity.
Thank you, Madam President.