By Sami Zaptia.
London, 12 August 2019:
A joint statement released yesterday by the governments of France, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States welcomed the truce over the Eid holiday in the fighting between the pro Tripoli and the pro Khalifa Hafter aligned forces.
The statement was criticized by a number of Libyan commentators as some of the signatories of the statement, France and the UAE, are seen as two of the main backers of the Khalifa Hafter side. The US, under the Trump administration, is also seen as playing a passive role in the Libya conflict. The signatories have also come for criticism for failing to enforce the UNSC arms embargo.
Here is the full text:
The governments of France, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States welcome the announcement of a truce in Libya on the occasion of Eid el-Adha in response to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG) with the support of the Security Council (UNSC press statement on Libya of 11 August), and invite all parties to effectively cease hostilities across Libya. We stand ready to assist the UN Mission in monitoring the observance of the truce and address any attempt to break it.
As proposed by the SRSG and reaffirmed today (Sunday) by the Security Council, this truce should be accompanied by confidence-building measures between the parties that can pave the way for a sustainable cease-fire and a return to a constructive, inclusive dialogue.
The governments of France, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States recall the obligation under international law for all UN Member States to abide by the arms embargo, in line with all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.
We call on all parties to start working with no delay on a ceasefire agreement and resume efforts, under the auspices of the Special Representative of the United Nations, to build a lasting political solution, based on the principles agreed upon in Paris, Palermo, and Abu Dhabi.
The governments of France, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States, reaffirm their strong commitment to a quick and peaceful resolution of the Libyan crisis. We reiterate that there can be no military option in Libya, and we urge all parties to protect civilians, safeguard Libya’s oil resources, and protect its infrastructure.
The governments of France, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States condemn in the strongest terms the attack that targeted a UN convoy in Benghazi yesterday. The circumstances of this vicious act must be established with no delay and those who were behind it must be identified and held accountable. We reiterate their full support to the essential work of the UN Mission in Libya.
“The decision to stop the war cannot be postponed indefinitely. I therefore submit the following three-part immediate action out of the conflict:
First, I call for a truce to be declared for the Eid al-Adha, which will fall on or about August 10. The truce should be accompanied by confidence-building measures between the parties to include the exchange of prisoners, release of those arbitrarily detained or abducted, and the exchange of mortal remains.
Second, and following the truce, I request a high-level meeting of concerned countries to: cement the cessation of hostilities, work together to enforce the strict implementation of the arms embargo to prevent the further flow of weapons to the Libyan theatre; and promote strict adherence to international humanitarian and human rights law by Libyan parties.
Third, the international meeting should be followed by a Libyan meeting of leading and influential personalities from all over the country to agree on comprehensive elements for the way forward. Such a consensus was on the verge of being built in the run-up to the National Conference in April. It is past time for Libyans to end this long season of mutual suspicion, fear and division.
This triple action will require consensus in this Council and amongst the Member States who exert influence on the ground.” Ghassan Salame to UNSC on 29 July.