Statement by Mr. Vladimir Safronkov, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, at the Security Council Meeting on the situation in Libya
New York, June 14 2016
Mr. Safronkov (Russian Federation) (spoke in Russian):
The Russian Federation did not prevent the adoption of resolution 2292 (2016). When we began working on the draft, we had the impression that this initiative was supposed to bring order to the illicit trafficking in weapons in Libya. That is why our delegation joined the discussions, intent on creating an additional effective filter in international waters of the Mediterranean.
But we were totally disappointed by the approaches of some colleagues when working on the document. When matters of principle had to be addressed, which requires diplomacy, they instead relied on ultimatums. Indeed, some partners decided that they wanted to see the Brussels decision to broaden the mandate of the military maritime Operation Sophia approved at any price. Furthermore, we saw unilateral, one-sided approaches put forward regarding the key issue of a political settlement in Libya that did not abide by the provisions of the Skhirat Agreement, which is the core of the inter-Libyan agreement and the joint Vienna Communiqué.
This is a very dangerous trend because, in this context, the undermining consequences of NATO’s actions are being overlooked as even as they negatively impact stability in the Mediterranean basin, North Africa and in the Middle East as a whole. But we are still disentangling the violations and broad interpretations of resolution 1973 (2011) and the violations perpetrated by NATO members in 2011.
Our decision not to hinder the adoption of the resolution was based on two ideas. First, the resolution sets forth procedures that do not go beyond the framework of those agreed earlier by the Security Council, namely, resolution 2182 (2014) on Somalia and resolution 2240 (2015) on combating illegal migration. We hope that approaches to obtaining the agreement of flag State for planning inspections will indeed be upheld in full, and not just in words. We are guided by the clear provision of international maritime law that only the flag State has jurisdiction in the high seas. This reflects one of the most important freedoms of the high seas — the freedom of navigation.
Secondly, we believe that requests for exemptions from the arms embargo, in particular with respect to the provision of lethal weapons, will be submitted for review to the Sanctions Committee, which applies the principle of consensus. We shall scrupulously follow the content and review of such requests most carefully. With respect to the provision of lethal weapons for the needs of the Government of National Accord of Libya, we would welcome the establishment of viable national armed forces with a central chain of command. However, such forces do not exist today in Libya. Nevertheless, due to the position of some delegations, the resolution does not stress the goal of establishing united security forces, which is of critical importance to restoring the unity of the country and its State institutions. Everyone knows how the United Nations is working towards these ends.
Creating united forces is reflected in the joint Vienna Communiqué, of 16 May, and is enshrined in resolution 2291 (2016), of 13 June, which extended the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya. Without an effective central Government, a loyal army and police, Libyans will be unable to deal with all of the challenges ahead.
The position adopted by the Security Council as it drew up today’s resolution leads one to believe that there is a hidden agenda behind the resolution that will not unite long-suffering Libya. It is possible that somebody is seeking a carte blanche so as to manage the weapons flow into Libya as they see fit. Today, that means helping some Libyans against others, which makes a peaceful settlement to the crisis even more remote. That is demonstrated, inter alia, by evidence of a foreign military presence in Libya not approved by the Security Council, as well as the flow of foreign terrorist fighters into the country.
We need to find our position in this context. Are we going to work together or not? Let us not forget that there are forces in Libya that are loyal to General Haftar which are effectively pushing back against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other armed terrorist groups. It is inadmissible to ignore this fact.
The general philosophy of the resolution leads us to believe that the sponsors are, frankly, not being very sincere in their fight against ISIL and the terrorist presence in Libya. We underscore that we are fully committed to the full implementation of the Skhirat Agreement. However, we must remember that this document plans for the approval of the composition of the Government of National Accord and the Parliament in Tobruk. Unfortuantely, in spite of our multiple requests, that was not reflected in the resolution and was simply ignored.
We call on all Member States to come together in an effort to resolve regional conflicts and combat terrorism and avoid trying to implement their own agendas. We call on Member States to be united rather than divided.
George Vella Minister for Foreign Affairs