9644th Meeting (PM)

Adopting Resolution 2733 (2024) with 9 Votes in Favour, 6 Abstentions, Security Council Authorizes One-Year Extension of Measures to Implement Arms Embargo against Libya

The Security Council today decided to renew measures designed to implement the arms embargo against Libya for another year, in particular those authorizing Member States — acting nationally or through regional organizations — to inspect vessels on the high seas off Libya’s coast believed to be in violation of the arms embargo imposed on that country.

The representative of Malta, introducing the draft resolution, emphasised that in line with international law, the European Union Naval Force Mediterranean Operation IRINI is proof of the bloc’s commitment to contribute to the return to peace and stability in Libya.  She recalled that Operation IRINI has inspected 27 vessels, performed more than 14,000 hailings, more than 600 friendly approaches and provided over 50 special reports to the UN Panel of Experts.  France and Malta conducted significant outreach with all Council Members, Libyan authorities and other stakeholders, engaged in the spirit of compromise and displayed flexibility to reconcile diverging views.

Adopting resolution 2733 (2024) (to be issued as document S/RES/2733(2024)) by a recorded vote of 9 in favour (Ecuador, France, Japan, Malta, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States) to none against, with 6 abstentions (Algeria, China, Guyana, Mozambique, Russian Federation, Sierra Leone), the Council extended the authorizations set out in its resolution 2684 (2023) for a further 12 months.

By terms added by the penholders — France and Malta — after deliberations, altering and adding to paragraphs 5 of resolution 2292 (2016), the text authorized all Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations, to seize and dispose — through destruction or rendering inoperable — of such items or, subject to approval by the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning Libya within 90 days after request, dispose — such as through storage or transfer to a State other than the originating or destination States for disposal — of such items, without prejudice to the right of the Member State, acting nationally or through regional organizations, to safely retain those items in a holding area prior to disposal.

Furthermore, the Council decided that the Member State, acting nationally or through regional organizations, who seizes and disposes of such items shall notify the 1970 Committee of such disposal within 30 days, providing details of all items and the precise manner in which they were disposed of. In addition, the Committee shall be deemed to have refused the request in the absence of an approval within 90 days, subject to any extension to that period agreed by the Committee, and following any such lack of approval, the relevant State, acting nationally or through a regional organization, may submit an updated request for the Committee’s approval.

The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of position, welcomed the adoption of the resolution, but voiced disappointment with the newly inserted requirement that Committee approval must be obtained prior to some modes of disposal of seizures.  This would unnecessarily politicize and significantly impede the interdiction process, he said.  He thanked the European Union, nonetheless, for dedicating its resources to monitor and disrupt illicit activities at sea and in the air off the coast of Libya and called on other Member States to make use of that authority as well.

However, the representative of Sierra Leone, also speaking for Algeria, Guyana and Mozambique, noted that the four countries abstained on today’s adoption because the proposed amendments on strengthening the role of the 1970 Committee in the decision-making about the disposal of prohibited seized items were not reflected in the text adopted.  Despite several calls on the penholders to consider the legitimate concerns of the four countries for greater transparency and strengthening of the Sanctions Committee’s role in the disposal of seized items, they were not appropriately given due consideration.  Thus, the resolution did not adequately address their key concerns nor “reflect the spirit of compromise that guided our deliberations”, he stressed.

He further noted that rigorous and transparent enforcement of the arms embargo is crucial to de-escalate violence, protect civilians and create an environment conducive for political solution in Libya.  “We owe it to the people of Libya to take concrete actions to hold the inflow of arms that have fuelled such devastation,” he stated.

The representative of the Russian Federation, who also abstained, said that her country had harboured hope that the mechanism would contribute to curbing the illicit arms trade in Libya and consequently help facilitate political resolution to the protracted conflict in the country.  However, the European Union Naval Force Mediterranean Operation IRINI — which assumed sole ownership of the inspections under this regime — “in no way helped to achieve this goal”. Moscow has raised concerns about Operation IRINI, its geographical scope, functions, features and accountability year after year.  Spotlighting the Operation’s chronic shortfalls, she said that “the bloc’s brainchild has not generated any effective results in stabilizing the situation on the ground”.

Echoing those delegates’ concerns, China’s representative, who also abstained, said that during consultations on the draft, his delegation and many other Council member, proposed to improve the monitoring mechanism for the arms embargo on Libya to ensure that the Sanctions Committee approves the disposal of the embargoed items being seized.  While the penholders made some improvements, he said the draft still allows for the arbitrary disposal of seized items.  This is not conducive to upholding the authority of the monitoring mechanism and, more importantly, runs counter to the wishes of the host country and the call of the African members in the Council.

For information media. Not an official record.