Adopting Resolution 2647 (2022), Security Council Extends Libya Support Mission’s Mandate for Three Months, as Speakers Voice Concerns about Short Renewals
The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) for three months — until 31 October 2022 — as members underscored the urgent need to appoint a Mission Head to enable it to offer support to the country and debated the need to extend the mandate for a longer period of time.
Adopting resolution 2647 (2022) (to be issued as document S/RES/2647) by a vote of 12 in favour to none against, with three abstentions (Gabon, Ghana, Kenya), the Council reiterated its decision that UNSMIL should be led by a Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Tripoli and called on the Secretary-General to promptly appoint the same.
Through the text, the Council also called on the relevant Libyan institutions and authorities to implement confidence-building measures to create an environment conducive for successful presidential and parliamentary elections.
Further, the Council called on the parties to refrain from any actions that could undermine the political process or the 23 October 2020 ceasefire and, emphasizing that there can be no military solution in Libya, demanded full compliance by all Member States with the arms embargo imposed in 2011.
Additionally, the resolution requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on its implementation every 30 days.
Following the vote, the representatives of Ghana and Kenya stressed that, with another technical rollover, the Council has again failed to demonstrate its commitment to the Libyan people. Both recalled the frustrations of the Libyan people, conveyed by the country’s ambassador on 25 July, and emphasized that today’s result constitutes yet another disappointment. Further, Ghana’s representative pointed out that the Secretariat has repeatedly stated that short mandates are a disincentive to potential candidates for the Special Representative position.
The representative of the United Kingdom joined others in echoing the frustration of her African colleagues regarding the short three-month mandate. She said their abstentions from today’s vote were understandable, as the Russian Federation’s refusal to join consensus on proposals for a longer mandate goes against what Libya, the region and the United Nations requested.
However, countering that, the Russian Federation’s representative stressed that the adopted resolution was “the only possible compromise for all at this stage”. He also emphasized that it is not normal for UNSMIL “to be left decapitated for so long”, as this limits the tools as its disposal to support Libyan dialogue. The Mission’s mandate will be extended for a standard period of time after it has a Head, he said.
“While all red lights are on, the Council remains deaf,” stressed Gabon’s representative, pointing out that a short mandate renewal undermines the Council’s credibility and erodes confidence among States in the region. Highlighting the proliferation of arms and terrorist networks in the Sahel as proof that the situation in Libya has an impact on the region, she stressed that it is “high time” for the Council to end the short renewal cycle.
Also speaking were the representatives of the United Arab Emirates, China, Mexico, United States and Brazil.
The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 3:33 p.m.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom), welcoming the mandate renewal for the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), said that the text contains several important messages, including on political and security processes, the integrity of the National Oil Corporation and human rights. Particularly important is the clear message sent to Libyan parties on the need to agree on a pathway to deliver presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible. While she thanked Council members for their constructive engagement and support for the resolution’s substantive elements, she said that she shares the frustration of her African colleagues regarding the short three-month mandate. Their abstentions are understandable, given that the Russian Federation’s refusal to join consensus on proposals for a longer mandate goes against what Libya, the region and the United Nations requested. Insisting on a three-month rollover in the absence of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General is short-sighted and undermines the Mission’s ability to support Libyan leaders in their efforts to bring stability to the country, she stressed.
DMITRY POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) said that the adopted resolution was “the only possible compromise for all at this stage”. Everyone understands that the current configuration of United Nations mediation efforts in Libya is unable to address the problem of Libyan settlement. He further emphasized that it is not normal for UNSMIL “to be left decapitated for so long”, as this limits the tools at its disposal to support Libyan dialogue. He called on the Secretary-General to submit for approval a worthy, authoritative candidate to head the Mission that will suit the Libyan actors and regional stakeholders. The text reiterates this urgent need, and UNSMIL requires a leader that enjoys the true trust of Libyans. He added that his country’s insistence on this matter stems solely from concerns for the effectiveness of United Nations efforts to promote settlement in Libya, and that the Mission’s mandate will be extended for a standard period of time after it has a Head.
MOHAMED ABUSHAHAB (United Arab Emirates) welcomed the extension of UNSMIL’s mandate, expressing hope that consensus can be reached in the future to renew the Mission’s mandate in the future for a longer period. This will enhance its efficiency and efficacy and enable it to build on the progress made in the Libyan-led and -owned political process. He stressed the need for UNSMIL to be able to fully implement its mandate and to develop its long-term strategy to support Libyan efforts seeking peace and stability. Also voicing hope that the Mission will resume its work under the leadership of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General as soon as possible in line with resolution 2629 (2022), he stressed the need for the Council to continue “speaking with one voice” to support Libya and realize the aspirations of its people.
LILLY STELLA NGYEMA NDONG (Gabon) said her country “had no other choice but to abstain,” recalling that Libya’s ambassador on 22 July drew attention to the Council’s ineffectiveness in resolving the crisis, especially after four technical three-month renewals. “While all red lights are on, the Council remains deaf,” she said, adding: “These short mandates undermine the credibility of the Security Council” and erode confidence among States in the region. She pointed to the proliferation of arms and terrorist networks in the Sahel as proof that the situation in Libya has an impact on the region, stressing that it is “high time” for the Council to end the short renewal cycle. She reiterated support for the swift designation of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General.
SOLOMON KORBIEH (Ghana), noting he abstained from the vote, said that with another technical rollover, the Council has again failed to demonstrate its commitment to the Libyan people. The Secretariat has repeatedly stated that short mandates are a disincentive to potential candidates for the Special Representative position. He also recalled the frustrations of the Libyan people which was “amply” demonstrated by Libya’s ambassador, pointing out that “he demanded action, rather than rhetoric from the Council.” A substantive mandate renewal would have sent a positive signal to Libyans. The Council’s failure to reach consensus on a nominee complicates the Libyan peace process, given the departure of the current Special Representative. He called on the Council to place the overall interests of Libya “above all else” and work with the Secretary-General to appoint the desired UNSMIL leadership. “The people of Libya are crying for elections,” he said. “This Council cannot let them down.” He encouraged Libyan authorities to hold Presidential and Parliamentary elections within the mandate cycle.
XING JISHENG (China) said the political process in Libya is in a critical phase. He voiced support for the continued mediation of the United Nations and thus voted for the resolution. Noting that the Special Representative position has been vacant for half a year, he said a prompt appointment is conducive to UNSMIL resuming its mandate. He supported an African candidate for that position, calling for accelerated progress in the selection and appointment. He said China also supported the inclusion of language on an inclusive national reconciliation process and welcomes the African Union’s support for it.
JUAN GÓMEZ ROBLEDO VERDUZCO (Mexico) said he voted in favour of the text so UNSMIL can continue to operate amid deteriorating conditions. In limiting the mandate to three months, “we are contributing to uncertainty at time when the Libyan people need certainty,” he said. He encouraged members to break the cycle, reiterating the importance of the United Nations presence in Libya as a way to re-channel the political process, reformed in line with the strategic review conducted in 2021.
MARTIN KIMANI (Kenya) said that on four occasions the Council has technically rolled over the UNSMIL mandate for three months, each time with Kenya expressing disappointment. However, even in such a diminished form, UNSMIL can still support Libya. He called for a one-year renewal and appointment of a Special Envoy from Africa. Recalling that Libya’s ambassador recently observed the frequency of Council meetings and lack of follow-up, he said today’s resolution — and its three-month mandate — constitutes yet another disappointment for the people of Libya. It is no longer tenable for UNSMIL to operate with such a brief mandate, he said, adding that Kenya’s abstention is a sign of its dissatisfaction with a damaging status quo.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) said that UNSMIL now has a more-substantive mandate that includes important language in support of the political process and ensures that Libyan oil revenue is managed transparently for the benefit of the Libyan people. Expressing disappointment, however, that the Council was again forced to accept a three-month mandate extension, she said that the Russian Federation’s specious contention that a three-month mandate will assist the Secretariat in securing full Council support for a nominee for Special Representative of the Secretary-General has proven false. Rather, such a short duration will only further complicate such efforts. Additionally, revisiting UNSMIL’s mandate every few months makes it harder for the Mission to implement long-term plans, to develop sustainable solutions to Libya’s challenges and to recruit the best candidate for the role. The Libyan people rely on UNSMIL, she added, emphasizing it is a disservice to them “to play games with the mandate”.
RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil), Council President for July, spoke in his national capacity to welcome the renewal of UNSMIL’s mandate and the Council’s acknowledgement of the importance of peacebuilding efforts to Libya’s future. The building of institutions, security-sector reform and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration are all referenced in today’s resolution. He also recalled the that the Peacebuilding Commission can play a positive role in assisting with implementing peacebuilding priorities as well as with the renewal of UNSMIL’s mandate. The compromise duration of today’s renewal offers the Secretary-General and Council members the opportunity to appoint a suitable candidate as soon as possible, and he expressed hope that subsequent renewals will benefit from more-predictable timeframes. He added that, because regional dynamics should be considered, an African candidate for Special Representative of the Secretary-General would be well-suited for the position.