Remarks by Ambassador Robert Wood at a UN Security Council Briefing on Libya

Remarks by Ambassador Robert Wood at a UN Security Council Briefing on Libya

Ambassador Robert Wood
Deputy Commissioner for Special Political Affairs
New-York, New-York
December 16, 2022


Thank you Madam President. Thank you, Special Representative Bathily, for your update on the situation in Libya. So far we have been impressed by your persistence in convening the Libyan leadership. We will continue to support your efforts.

In the seven years since the political accord was signed in Libya, the Libyan people have seen conflict, government mismanagement, rampant corruption and human rights abuses instead of the democracy and prosperity they deserve.

Libya’s political transition is bogged down in the year the Libyan leadership failed to hold presidential elections. We support the Special Envoy’s efforts to help Libyan leaders solve Libyan problems in Libya and encourage them to engage the Libyan people to explain why they deserve their votes in free and fair elections.

This year we have seen continued manipulation of Libyan oil resources and diversion of revenues to fund militias in East and West rather than benefiting the Libyan people by building infrastructure, promoting a diversified economy or improving services such as health care benefit and education.

Leaders of sovereign institutions have been threatened and technocrats sidelined in favor of a rotating group of cronies. False legal justifications have been used to try to shut down state institutions in order to undermine their authority.

Where is Libya? Powerful Libyans have undermined the electoral roadmap by merely trying to protect their spheres of influence, presiding over turf wars between militias, criminal corporations and foreign fighters, the appalling treatment of migrants and the declining living standards of the Libyan people.

The Libyan people have long made it clear that they want something better for themselves and their country. You asked for new elections.

We reiterate that it is imperative for Libyan stakeholders to participate in good faith in discussions facilitated by SRSG Bathily and UNSMIL to establish a constitutional framework for presidential and parliamentary elections and a timetable for a vote.

We have seen that significant progress is possible – the September meetings between representatives of the House of Representatives and the High Council of State resulted in substantial agreement on a draft framework for elections. We know that the remaining points are not about substantive constitutional issues, but about designing the framework to reflect the circumstances of specific individuals. It is time to put aside the ambition that has frozen Libya for years and finalize the framework.

The completion of a revenue management and transparency mechanism should help dampen personal ambition by reducing opportunities for personal enrichment and access to funds to maintain personal safety precautions. It is hard to imagine any credible and reasonable objection to shared decision-making and transparent records of the allocation of Libya’s vast oil wealth. We appreciate SRSG Bathily’s efforts to prioritize the establishment of a transparency mechanism.

The work of the Joint Military Commission 5+5 has been largely positive. It is imperative that this group continue to work together to implement the ceasefire agreement. We welcome the conscious consideration of initiatives and pilot projects to unify the armed forces and welcome detailed information on such ideas.

Thank you once again, Special Representative Bathily, for your efforts to bring about an agreement to hold free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections. The United States supports this work and urges the Libyan leadership to engage constructively to hold elections, which are urgently needed to restore the credibility of the Libyan government and the faith of the Libyan people.

Special Representative Bathily, you have a challenging mission ahead of you. But know that you will continue to have the unwavering support of the United States as you help move the Libyan people towards elections, better governance, and ultimately security and prosperity.

Thank you Madam President.


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