Statement by Ambassador Woodward at the Security Council meeting on UNSMIL

Dame Barbara Woodward DCMG OBE

Let me start by thanking SRSG Bathily and Ambassador Kimihiro for their briefings today. I’d like to focus on the political process, the role of security actors, and civil society.

The United Kingdom continues to support fully SRSG Bathily and his work in Libya. I welcome SRSG Bathily’s consultations with an inclusive set of stakeholders. All Libyans, from social leaders to civil society, have an important role to play in Libya’s long-term efforts towards stability.

Mediation, under the auspices of the SRSG and UNSMIL, is key for elections to succeed. It is vital to bind Libya’s powerbrokers into an agreement that will enable the holding of elections as soon as feasible, without risking progress achieved on peace and stability to date. Mediation should take place between those empowered to resolve key sticking points that have long delayed Libya’s progress towards long-term security.

Second, I note positively the efforts of security actors to come together in support of delivering successful elections. Their initial commitments are welcome and should be the foundation for more substantive political compromises that create the conditions for successful elections. Security actors also have an important role in committing to, and upholding, the security guarantees necessary to enable Libyan’s access to safe, free and fair elections.

Finally, colleagues, as SRSG Bathily said, the crackdown on civil society is deeply concerning. Civic space must be protected to empower all Libyans to play a role in developing an open and democratic society. It is incumbent on Libyan authorities to rapidly develop and clarify a sustainable legal mechanism that allows for freedom of association, operation and assembly, as guaranteed in the Constitutional Declaration.

Additionally, I encourage SRSG Bathily to continue undertaking meaningful engagement with civil society to ensure wider Libyan voices, including, as you mentioned, women and youth, are heard throughout the political process.

Colleagues, there’s a positive start already to help Libya find the solutions to its problems. We must continue to work together constructively to support the Libyan people to address long-standing issues. It is only through coordinated efforts, with a leading role by UNSMIL, that we can help pave the way for elections and beyond, to ensure Libya achieves the stability and prosperity its people deserve.

Thank you.

Published 18 April 2023