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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Stephanie Williams Gives Final Briefing to UN on Libya

Acting Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Stephanie Williams gave a final briefing to the Security Council on the latest developments in Libya. She reviewed the progress made by the mission in implementing the outcomes of the Berlin Conference and its political, economic, and military tracks.

Williams added that she would head to Geneva on Friday, for a decisive round of intra-Libyan talks, which is expected to result in the creation of a new interim unified executive.

Williams also praised “all those who have worked courageously and in good faith to sow the seeds of reconciliation and fulfill the aspirations of the people. I also want to thank this Council for its support to my efforts as Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General over the past eleven months, and to the members of the Berlin Process and the many generous donors that have accompanied and sustained the UN-facilitated intra-Libyan dialogue.”

“This Council should signal its clear support for the new Libyan unified government through the issuance of a resolution that also calls for the dissolution of all remaining parallel executive entities,” she noted.

Williams pointed out that the intra-Libyan dialogues, facilitated by UNSMIL through its three tracks, have produced tangible progress: a ceasefire is in place, the Tunis Roadmap, adopted in mid-November has charted the course for the restoration of democratic legitimacy by setting a date for elections and the establishment of a unified interim executive authority; as well as long-overdue economic-financial reforms being well under way.

The 5+5 Joint Military Committee (JMC) has confirmed its intentions to continue working on implementing all aspects of the October ceasefire agreement.

Williams also commend the crucial role played by women, youth, and representatives from Libya’s south in building bridges and working relentlessly to reach a compromise. On 19 January, the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) voted to approve the selection mechanism for a new executive authority in the lead up to national elections, with 73% of the votes cast.

She confirmed that the situation in Libya regarding the uncontrolled proliferation of arms, ammunition, and explosive ordnance continues to pose a major threat. Williams stated that the ceasefire agreement presents a critical opportunity to mitigate this threat through the commitment by both sides to implement the measures outlined in the accompanying Mine Action protocol, which will save lives and help restore peace.

“Since the suspension of fighting in June 2020, families have continued to return to Tripoli, with approximately 114,000 people returning since the end of fighting. Across Libya there has been a 26% reduction in the number of displaced people, from a high of 426,000 people in June to 316,000 people today,” she noted.

The UN official said, “we were also saddened to learn that on 19 January, at least 43 people drowned and 10 survivors were rescued in the first shipwreck of 2021, off the coast of Libya. In 2020, more than 11,900 migrants and refugees trying to reach Europe were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya, which by all definitions is not a safe port for return.”

“The impact of COVID-19 continues to make life more challenging for some of the country’s most vulnerable people. The number of cases and deaths continues to increase month-on-month. As of 23 January, there were 113,688 confirmed cases and 1,763 deaths,” she added.

She, finally thanked the entire UN team working on Libya for their “superb dedication and commitment, working tirelessly to make this process possible.”

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