On Wednesday, the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Stephanie Williams, held a briefing with the UN Security Council over Libya. She stated that the use of oil as a weapon of war had only exacerbated the misery of the Libyan people, and propelled the country towards economic and social collapse.
The most important points of Williams’ briefing are as follows:
Williams cited the “regrettable cliché” claiming that Libya is at a “turning point”. She noted the role that the UNSC must play to prevent the country’s descent into “greater fragmentation.”
Williams noted a period of relative calm in the country. This has merely allowed for significant “resupply efforts”, including weapons by several foreign forces and their mercenaries.
Williams cited socio-economic conditions fueling unrest in many regions of the country. She noted that domestic fuel shortages greatly impact electricity access, and urged a full lifting of the oil embargo. Public anger at the lack of essential services is only growing.
Williams stated that given healthcare limitations, including for children, it is highly likely that the spread of COVID-19 infection is far greater than official statistics suggest.
She lamented the diverse deprivation that “stretches” the coping capacity of displaced people and refugees to the breaking point. Therefore, she urged a review of the European approach to the migration crisis.
She also urged renewed efforts to control smugglers and traffickers, as well as finding alternatives to detention centres for refugees.
Williams called for a sustainable agreement between conflict parties, to provide a stable environment for security sector reform, the restoration of government services, and economic revitalisation.
The UNSMIL head cited commitments she received from regional, and other governments, especially from Tunisia, to assist UNSMIL in securing “calm on the ground”.
Williams cited the “green shoots” of democracy which must be protected from spoilers that seek to undermine a democratic Libya. She also argued that “maximalist positions” on governance should be avoided.
On the economy, Williams called for banking reform to ensure the proper management of public revenues. She noted that those using oil as a “weapon of war” have only magnified civilian suffering, and not brought down the state.