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The political impasse in Libya is unsustainable: UK statement at the UN Security Council

President, I thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General  Bathily and Ambassador Yamazaki Kazuyuki for their briefings today.

President, as we’ve heard, the political impasse in Libya is unsustainable. Recent clashes at the Ras Ajdar border are a reminder of the fragility of Libya’s security landscape and the devastating impact any escalation could have on ordinary Libyans.

In this context, I wish to make three points this morning:

First, the only sustainable pathway to improving the security situation is through the UN-facilitated political process and an inclusive political settlement. We therefore, once again, call on Libya’s leaders to work with the SRSG constructively, and without preconditions, to resolve the outstanding issues delaying elections. We support SRSG Bathily’s call for this council, and the international community, to be united in support of the UN process. Municipal council elections would be an important step in the right direction, giving Libyans a voice in their leadership. I urge Libya’s leaders to provide the High National Election Commission the funding and security guarantees needed to deliver these elections as soon as possible.

Second, the political stalemate leaves Libya vulnerable to the influence,  or as SRSG Bathily put it, the fierce rivalry, of external actors seeking control of the country’s security and economy, risking further instability, including beyond into the Sahel. Flagrant and malign breaches of the arms embargo contribute to this, and we note reports of large Russian Naval vessels delivering military supplies to the Libyan National Army on 8 and 14 April.

As we heard from SRSG Bathily, the political stalemate also exacerbates challenges for civil society, free speech, and women. Basic human rights and democratic values are being undermined.

Seven months on from September’s floods, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Derna and other affected areas remain politicised. International institutions are frozen out and access is constrained. We continue to urge Libyan authorities to agree a transparent model for recovery and reconstruction and recommend the authorities use the technical expertise offered by the United Nations Development Programme to help those Libyans who continue to suffer.

In conclusion, President, Libya’s future prosperity is reliant on a politically stable and unified country with transparent and accountable institutions. The UK will continue to work with partners and support the SRSG and UNSMIL towards this aim. I call once again on Libya’s leaders to engage constructively with the SRSG and to fulfil their responsibilities to the Libyan people.

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