Thank you President and thank you to USG DiCarlo and Ambassador Tirumurti for your briefings. And we also welcome our Libyan colleague at today’s meeting.
We would like to join others in commending the work of Special Advisor Williams and UNSMIL in convening the joint committee of the House of Representatives, and the High Council of State earlier this month in Cairo.
The UN plays a critical role in assisting the Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process. Particularly in bringing the parties together to discuss the much-needed constitutional arrangements. Let me also thank Egypt for hosting the parties. And we commend the Joint Committee for reaching initial consensus on 137 articles, in last week’s round of talks.
This is an encouraging sign of progress; and we urge parties to build on this consensus to reach agreement on the remaining articles when they meet again in June. We trust that they will live up to their responsibilities and provide a firm constitutional framework to enable the holding of inclusive national elections as soon as possible.
As we all know, there are 2,8 million Libyans who have registered to vote, and expect timely and safe elections.
The only viable path to legitimate political leadership is allowing the Libyan people to choose their leaders. Attempts to seize or retain political power through violence will only hurt the people of Libya.
We call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint; refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric; and ensure the protection of civilians. It is critical to avoid a new escalation of violence.
We are pleased to see that the ceasefire is still holding, and we commend the work of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission, in this regard.
However, as we underlined in the last meeting, it is very important that their essential work continues, and is not obstructed by the ongoing political tension. Together they have made great progress in preserving stability, and improving the daily lives of the Libyan people.
We welcome their recent meeting with Special Advisor Williams on the margins of a Workshop on disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration in Spain, and applaud the renewed commitment to an inclusive, rights-based, DDR process.
We encourage further cooperation with neighbouring countries, and the African Union in this regard.
The disruption of oil production must also be avoided. Libyan natural resources are important to the global energy supply in a time of increasing demand. But more importantly, they are a source of income essential to the Libyan people to improve public services, and secure reliable funding for the priority needs of the nation.
The oil sector must not be politicized. The ongoing oil blockade must be lifted, enabling full oil production, and export.
We remain gravely concerned about reported arrests and detention of members of civil society, human rights organizations, and international non-governmental institutions.
We are also alarmed by the targeted violence and harassment of women activists and officials.
Let me underline that it is the duty of States to respect, protect, and fulfil their human rights obligations, including ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable.