Third International Follow-up Committee meeting on Libya Berlin conference outcomes expressed alarm on military escalation and renews calls for immediate de-escalation
By Sami Zaptia.
London, 23 June 2020:
UNSMIL reported yesterday that the Third International Follow-up Committee (IFCL) meeting on the Libya Berlin conference outcomes expressed alarm on the military escalation around the city of Sirte and renewed its calls for immediate de-escalation.
It will be recalled that the IFCL was set up as part of the outcomes of the January 2020 Berlin Conference on Libya – to follow up and implement the conference’s outcomes
It will also be recalled that the two sets of conflicting Libyan forces and their foreign backers are in a faceoff at the battlefront on the western outskirts of the central Libyan city of Sirte. This battle line was reached after the Khalifa Hafter-led forces were pushed back in May and June out from the outskirts of Tripoli and out of all of west Libya up to Sirte. Hafter’s forces had been attempting to takeover Tripoli since April 2019.
Whilst the international community is calling for a ceasefire, the forces defending Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tripoli insist on their right to control all of Libya’s territory – especially the eastern oilfields beyond Sirte that represent two-thirds of Libya’s oil production.
Here are the full conclusions of the Third IFCL meeting:
The third meeting of the International Follow-up Committee on Libya (IFCL) was convened at the Senior Officials level, via video conference, on Monday 22 June 2020. The meeting was co-chaired by the League of Arab States (LAS), represented by Assistant Secretary General Hossam Zaki, and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), represented by Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General Stephanie Williams.
The meeting follows from the last meeting of the IFCL, which was held on 13 May 2020 and co-hosted by Italy and UNSMIL.
Participants reviewed the progress attained thus far in the implementation of the conclusions of the Berlin Conference of 19 January 2020, and efforts of the IFCL in support of a comprehensive, durable and peaceful Libyan-led resolution of the conflict, under UN auspices, that preserves the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya.
They also welcomed the progress achieved by the four thematic technical working groups of the IFCL, addressing security, political, economic and international humanitarian law / human rights issues, in following-up and operationalizing the conclusions of the Berlin Conference.
Participants stressed the need for all members of the Berlin process to strictly adhere to the entirety of their commitments and obligations, as contained in the Berlin Conference conclusions and in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.
Members of the IFCL expressed their profound alarm at the serious ongoing military escalation around Sirte, and renewed their calls on the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) to de-escalate immediately, cease all hostilities and military movements, and swiftly conclude the ongoing negotiations within the intra-Libyan 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) with a view to reaching a formal, comprehensive, and permanent cease-fire agreement under UN auspices.
The meeting recalled the importance of addressing, within the 5 + 5 JMC negotiations, comprehensive provisions regarding the repatriation of all foreign mercenaries, withdrawal of all foreign military forces, and dismantling and disarmament of armed groups and militias across the country.
Members of the IFCL deplored the continued multiple violations of the UN arms embargo; they reiterated the need for all external actors to strictly adhere to their commitments to cease all forms of foreign military intervention in Libya, desist from any destabilizing activities in the conflict, and fully respect the provisions of UNSCR 1970 and all relevant subsequent UNSC resolutions.
Participants addressed and exchanged views on the various efforts and initiatives aimed at resuming an inclusive political process and completing Libya’s transition, including the initiative announced by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Cairo Declaration, Prime Minister Serraj’s proposal and emerging calls to prepare for national elections.
Members of the IFCL stressed the need to continue to address these various initiatives and proposals within an inclusive Libyan-led and Libyan-owned process and encouraged UNSMIL to continue fostering these discussions within the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum launched in Geneva in February 2020. Participants also recognized the need for a roadmap towards the holding of free, fair and credible elections to conclude Libya’s transition, and expressed their readiness to support this goal which can only be pursued in a conducive political and security environment, and in accordance with the requisite legal, constitutional and electoral framework, and once all parties and stakeholders commit in advance to respect and abide by its results.
Members of the IFCL deplored reports of widespread human rights violations, including the discovery of mass graves in and around Tarhouna, as well as the presence of mines and explosive devices left behind in areas that were previously under LNA control. Participants called for the perpetrators to be held accountable and brought to justice.
Members of the IFCL expressed their concern at deteriorating humanitarian and economic conditions, which have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. They urged Libyan authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure unimpeded access for UN humanitarian personnel. Participants stressed the need to resume oil production under the auspices of the National Oil Corporation, reiterated their call for the transparent and equitable distribution of resources and underscored the importance to restore the integrity, unity, and lawful governance of all Libyan sovereign institutions.
Participants looked forward to the next meeting of the IFCL, which will be held in July 2020 under the co-chairmanship of the European Union and UNSMIL.