Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Briefing on the situation in Libya, 21 May 2019

Mr President

South Africa thanks Special Representative Mr Ghassan Salamé for his briefing and Ambassador Jürgen Schulz for his report.

My delegation commends the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Mr Salamé, for their tireless efforts in bringing together all the parties and stakeholders to reach agreement on the peace process and extends our full support for their efforts.

We particularly commend the work of the AU High-Level Committee on Libya under the leadership of President Sassou-Nguesso, and call for greater cooperation and collaboration between the African Union and the United Nations in finding a lasting solution to the crisis and in support of a single Roadmap in pursuit of peace and stability in Libya.

Mr President

As South Africa, we remain concerned with the worsening security and humanitarian situation in Tripoli.  South Africa calls on each of the parties to reduce tensions and exercise restraint to prevent destruction and loss of life in the capital and the continued suffering of civilians and migrants.

We reiterate that all parties and stakeholders must recommit their efforts towards building durable peace in Libya on the basis of inclusive political dialogue. We particularly urge the parties to commit fully to the ceasefire agreement reached in September 2018 and to avoid any further escalation of violence.

In this regard, South Africa will continue to support the convening of a Libyan National Peace and Reconciliation Forum, preceded by a National Dialogue conference in order to unify the people of Libya. We are therefore deeply concerned by postponement of this process due to the increased fighting in and around Tripoli. Where could we be if things were normal according time frames?

Mr President

We support the on-going efforts of the AU through its Peace and Security Council; the AU High-Level Committee on Libya and the commitment of the AU High Representative for Libya as they continue to engage with main stakeholders in this country.

The UN Security Council must support all efforts to bring about a peaceful settlement of the dispute and promote political dialogue.

In terms of the 1970 Committee progress report, South Africa does not view sanctions as an end in and of themselves but rather as a tool to accompany a political process towards peace and post-conflict. While, some elements of sanctions may assist in providing the necessary momentum towards the desired outcome, the focus should be on creating an enabling environment that promotes conditions for a peace process to take root.

However, given the recent escalation in military confrontation, South Africa views the implementation of the arms embargo, renewed under resolution 2420 (2018), as important in preventing the illicit flows of arms into Libya, increasing the risk of arms proliferation and further fuelling instability in the Sahel.

Mr President

We call on parties supplying arms to the protagonists in Libya to keep an inventory of such supplies so as to fully account post this conflict.  We need to avoid the situation of the past wherein tons and tons of weapons, ammunitions and explosives were dropped to groups fighting the then regime and these arms subsequently found their way into the greater Sahel, resulting in what we witness today in Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire etc.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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