The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya today co-chaired with Türkiye the first plenary session of the Security Working Group of the Berlin Process International Follow-Up Committee on Libyan soil.
Meeting participants included members of the Joint Military Commission (5+5); additional co-chairs, including ambassadors to Libya from the United Kingdom, and the African Union and the chargé d’affaires of the French and Italian embassies in Libya; ambassadors and representatives from Russia, Algeria, Egypt, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and the European Union. Representatives from the United States and the League of Arab States joined via remote video conferencing technology.
“I hope this meeting will be the first among a series of security working group meetings that can be held in different regions of Libya,” SRSG Abdoulaye Bathily said. “This will certainly contribute to advancing the political process and to create a conducive environment for holding free and inclusive elections in 2023, with results accepted by all parties.”
Formidable challenges remain ahead for Libya on its path to elections, he said, including ensuring a safe and secure environment, addressing the issue of armed formations, advancing national reconciliation and transitional justice, and protecting human rights and international humanitarian law.
“I count on your cooperation in creating the necessary conditions for peace and stability in Libya,” he said. “I urge you to seize this opportunity to consolidate your achievements and overcome your differences.”
Noting the outbreak of war in neighbouring Sudan, the SRSG warned that armed groups and criminals may exploit the humanitarian emergency developing in border areas for their own interests. He expressed solidarity with the Sudanese people, who are suffering from “insurmountable violence”, and called for immediate cessation of hostilities and a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
“I urge you to closely monitor developments in Sudan and to take all necessary measures to prevent any spillover effects,” he said.
SRSG Bathily commended the recent work of the JMC (5+5) in bringing together security and military actors in Tripoli and Benghazi.
“We should not downplay the achievements secured so far – especially in advancing dialogue on the withdrawal on foreign fighters and mercenaries,” he said. “Positive momentum is building. Prisoners have been released. Families are being reunited. This gives a moral boost to Libya’s citizens – but we need more. We need a unified country with civilian and military leaders working together to preserve the territorial integrity of the country, physically and morally rebuild the country and wash the hearts and minds of the country’s people of the sentiments of hatred and mistrust.”
Elections, he said, will not solve all the problems, but they will be “the gateway to a better future.”
“The United Nations Support Mission in Libya and our international partners are pleased to accompany you on this journey, and we will continue to offer our assistance and expertise to facilitate your tasks and ensure your voices are heard by all stakeholders, including political leaders,” he said.
The Turkish Ambassador to Libya, Kenan Yilmaz, who co-chaired the meeting alongside the SRSG, expressed hope that the Solutions Working Group meeting would be “the first of many meetings that will take place in Libya, rather than just an exception.”
“The very fact that the Solutions Working Group is able to convene inside Libya validates the remarkable progress made by the patriotic Libyan generals in this room,” he said. “We are grateful to the SRSG for his insistence on discussing Libyan issues in Libya.”
The Security Working Group emanated from the Berlin Process for Libya, a multi-track UN-facilitated process, hosted by the German government and UNSMIL in 2020, to forge a consensus among concerned member states on the Libyan crisis and provide an international umbrella to protect intra-Libyan discussions about the future of the country.
The meeting was organized under a joint UNSMIL-UNDP political dialogue project.