Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Briefing on the situation in Libya, 04 September 2019

Mr President,

I would like to thank Mr. Ghassan Salamé for his briefing on the situation in Libya. I also thank the Chair of the 1970 Committee, Ambassador Jürgen Schulz for his briefing on the work of the Committee and Ms Marwa Mohamed as the Head of Advocacy and Outreach of Lawyers for Justice in Libya.

Mr President,

South Africa commends the UN Secretary-General and his Special Representative Mr Ghassan Salamé, for their tireless efforts in bringing together all the Libyan parties and stakeholders with the aim of reaching an agreement and a permanent ceasefire. In this regard, we welcome the SRSG’s three-step proposal to bring an end to the conflict.

Mr President,

Eight years since the start of Libyan, the country remains deeply divided and on the brink of a civil war. The failure by the Libyan parties to reach an agreement in ending the conflict has dire consequences for the Libyan people as well as for wider regional security. Furthermore, this crisis has exacerbated the current migrant crisis.  South Africa wishes to echo the sentiments of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council which stressed “the need for a peaceful and consensual solution to the Libyan crisis which continues to impact negatively on the security and the stability of neighbouring countries”.

Mr President,

I wish to utilise our interaction today to focus my intervention on three key issues;
One, there can be no military solution to the conflict in Libya. As such South Africa calls all on parties to agree to a permanent ceasefire and return to political dialogue.  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. In this regard, we commend the role played by UNSMIL in supporting these processes.

Two, my delegation remains convinced that the resolution of the Libyan crisis lies in the close consultation and cooperation between the United Nations, African Union, European Union and the League of Arab States. Equally Mr President, we call on neighbouring countries and those with influence on the political stakeholders, to promote a negotiated settlement.

Three, South Africa emphasizes that there should be full implementation of the arms embargo.  The arms embargo is important in not only curbing the flow of arms into Libya but also stemming the illicit flow of arms into the Sahel Region and beyond which fuels conflicts and causing instability. 

Mr President,

South Africa supports the observation of the Secretary-General that the rule of law be restored throughout Libya.  This should be accompanied by the full restoration of state control, including a holistic security strategy built on professional, accountable and unified security institutions.

South Africa wishes to impress on this Council that for as long as there is conflict over Libya’s resources, a resolution will be difficult to reach.  As such we call for a comprehensive dialogue that includes agreement on resource sharing by all political stakeholders for the sake of reaching lasting sustainable peace for all Libyans.  De-escalating the Libyan conflict necessitates resolving this longstanding financial dispute.

Finally Mr President we wish to implore on the SRSG to ensure the inclusion of women in the processes to resolve the crisis.  Women form an important constituency in Libya; as such their involvement in the formal and informal political processes remains critical.  This is in line with the number of resolutions adopted by this Council that advocate for the full and equitable participation of women in public life, to build and sustain a strong and vibrant democracy.

I thank you.


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