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Thank you Mr. President, I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the A3 - namely, Gabon, Ghana and Kenya. We warmly welcome you Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr. Abdoulaye Bathily and thank you for the briefing. We congratulate you on being appointed as SRSG UNSMIL, and wish you every success. We also welcome the participation of Ambassador Taher El Sonni, Permanent Representative of Libya.

Mr. President, We thank the Secretary General that we now have a substantive Special Representative of the Secretary General in Tripoli. His presence in Libya and interaction with the Libyan stakeholders is a strong signal of the UN’s commitment to their country’s peace and security. A substantive one-year mandate will offer the SRSG and the Mission the necessary stability to execute their mandate, and will demonstrate the Council’s continued commitment.

Mr. President, We are concerned about the persisting political stalemate, fully aware that the longer it continues, the deeper it entrenches divisions among the people. We reiterate our call to Libyan leaders to embrace the desire of the people of Libya for peace and stability, and for prosperity in unity. The continued mobilisation and movement of armed groups in and around Tripoli works against this common purpose. We are also concerned about the continued exchange of inflammatory rhetoric. Military means are not the solution; they only bring more suffering to civilians without winning peace. We therefore call for dialogue and reconciliation in a process owned by the people of Libya and lacking external dictates. For this reason, we are fully in support of the Presidency Council’s efforts. The Joint Communique of the Sixteenth Annual Joint Consultative Meeting between Members of the UN Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council on 14th October 2022 recognises the importance of collaboration, coordination and cooperation in, among other things, national reconciliation. This should be “guided by the principles of national ownership and meaningful partnerships with sub-regional and regional organisations”. We welcome the support of the African Union to the reconciliation process in Libya. And we look forward to the implementation of practical steps already agreed to, including facilitation of a reconciliation meeting in Tripoli in the coming months.

Mr. President, Using dialogue and a process of inclusive, comprehensive national reconciliation, Libyans can achieve a firm constitutional basis for elections. For this to happen most effectively, the mediating leadership of the Special Representative of the Secretary General is critical. We therefore welcome his initial focus in engaging with all Libyan parties, including civil society, women, and youth groups. We call on all sides to utilise the mediation support of the United Nations. All international support is valuable but should be coordinated by the United Nations for the sake of ensuring the coherence of efforts. Such coordination is also critical in preventing the negative external interference that has been characteristic of the conflict in Libya. We condemn such interference as also manifested through the presence of foreign forces, foreign fighters and mercenaries in Libya. We reiterate our demand for their immediate withdrawal. We commend the 5+5 Joint Military Commission and support its work in helping sustain the ceasefire agreement of October 2020. We urge it to continue the implementation of the Action Plan of October 2021 for the withdrawal of mercenaries, foreign fighters and foreign forces. These efforts need to be supplemented with close collaboration between Libya, the UN, neighbouring countries and the African Union in monitoring the withdrawal. They should also incorporate deliberate corresponding disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration, not only in Libya, but also in the multiple countries of origin. This needs to be done to avoid cyclic conflict and fragility in the Sahel region which is already facing the adverse cross-border effects of the conflict in Libya.

Mr. President, The other disturbing regional dimension of the conflict that we must keep bringing up is the plight of migrants and refugees in Libya and in the Mediterranean. This conflict continues to expose the worst of humanity in the treatment of this vulnerable group of people who are seeking better and safer lives. We demand the humane treatment of the refugees, migrants and asylum seekers as a basic requirement of international law and associated conventions. We reiterate our call for closer monitoring by the United Nations of the resources and information channels that enable this mistreatment – as we did in our last statement on 30th August.

Mr. President, Recognising the gaps that long transitions can create, we caution against the politicisation and manipulation of the Libya oil sector by external forces. We also remind that Libya’s frozen assets belong to Libyans and are protected and preserved for Libyans. Their administration should be strictly in consultation with Libyan authorities. Finally, Mr. President, we reaffirm our respect for Libya’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and our support for a truly-Libyan led and owned peace process. Thank you.

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