By Sami Zaptia.
London, 14 November 2018:
The international conference on Libya held by Italy in its Sicilian city of Palermo came to an end yesterday without any major breakthrough.
The concluding two-and-a-half page statement was overwhelmingly a re-statement of the contents of the long-established UNSMIL and Paris conference principles.
However, Palermo put a final end to the Paris conference’s December 2018 election hopes.
It stressed that only political rather than a military solution is viable in Libya, while reaffirming the LPA framework and UNSMIL Action Plan.
More prominence was given to that Action Plan’s National Conference (Multaqa) to be held early 2019, with a commitment to implementing its outcomes.
The conclusions stressed the National Conference was not a new body replacing existing LPA bodies.
There was also a commitment to passing the electoral law and permanent constitution- with elections now pushed back to the second quarter of 2019.
The conclusions committed to the unification of all of Libya’s state institutions including its armed forces.
There was also an offer to help rebuild Libya’s regular security forces.
Here is Italy’s official concluding statement on the conference:
“On November 12-13, 2018, Libya and International partners met in Palermo, under the auspices of the United Nations and in the wake of the Paris Conference of May 29, 2018. Participants welcomed the meeting in Palermo as a useful platform to show the unity of the international community in supporting the Libyan-owned stabilization process.
They acknowledged Sicily as a crossroad of different cultures and as a symbol of the common engagement in reaching out to the southern Mediterranean and to Libya.
Participants included a broad Libyan presence, with delegations from PC/GNA, HOR, HSC and LNA. Countries invited included representatives of Algeria, Austria, Canada, Chad, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Malta, Morocco, the Netherlands, Niger, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Congo, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Swiss Confederation, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the African Union, the European Union, the League of Arab States, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations.
- Reaffirming their strong and unequivocal commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya;
- Recalling that the current political and security situation in Libya is not sustainable and that there can be no military solution in Libya, only a peaceful solution can be sustainable;
- Recalling the December 17, 2015 Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) which remains the only viable framework to pursue an inclusive and sustainable path towards the stabilization of Libya;
- Reaffirming their endorsement of and full support for the United Nations Action Plan for Libya and to the tireless efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Ghassan Salamé;
- Recalling the need to consolidate the rule of law in a sovereign, democratic and stable Libya, under unified national institutions, guaranteeing the safety of its citizens from all threats, including terrorism, the protection and proper management of its natural wealth and financial resources, including cultural heritage;
Welcomed the statements by all Libyan delegations and the SRSG Ghassan Salamé, and highlighted the following principles and commitments.
- Welcomed the briefing presented by SRSG Salamé to the UN Security Council on November 8, 2018, in which he called for a Libyan-led inclusive National Conference to be held in the first weeks of 2019 in Libya.
- Underlined the importance of concluding the subsequent constitutional framework and electoral process by Spring 2019.
- Urged all Libyans and Libyan institutions to use the opportunity provided by the National Conference to: forego the use of force to settle their disputes; adopt principles and a clear timeline for making progress in the unification of their institutions, agreeing to eventually end duplication of institutions and structures; and, commit to the democratic renewal of their elected bodies in cooperation with the United Nations Support Mission in Libya;
- Urged Libyan representatives to support the principle of full inclusivity, including women participation, for the National Conference, without vetoes;
- Pledged to actively support the outcomes of the National Conference and to exert pressure on the concerned leaders and institutions to implement them without delay;
- Underlined that the National Conference is not to be a new institution, nor an effort to replace existing legislative bodies;
- Called for the reopening of the electoral registers;
- Stressed the determination to follow closely and assess the implementation of the commitments made in Palermo.
Participants, welcomed the commitment by the Libyan delegations to:
- Adopt the referendum law with a view of completing the Constitutional process as a key achievement for the sovereignty of the Libyan Nation;
- Undertake institutional responsibilities in order to hold a credible, peaceful, and well-prepared electoral process, underlining the importance of concluding the constitutional framework and the electoral process by Spring 2019, and of making sure that all the required technical, legislative, political and security conditions are in place, with an increasing support by the international community from now on;
- Respect the results of these elections when they occur, while those who will undermine Libya’s security or obstruct the electoral process will be held accountable.
- Recalled that security is a paramount requirement towards the achievement of sustainable political and economic stability and a primary expectation of the Libyan people;
- Agreed to support all efforts against terrorism and recalled the sacrifices made by all Libyan parties in this fight;
- Expressed support to the Egyptian-led dialogue in building unified, professional and accountable military institutions, under civilian authority;
- Condemned any use of violence in Tripoli and elsewhere and urged all parties to pursue the full and rapid establishment of the new security arrangements in Tripoli based on the redeployment of regular army and police forces with the aim to replace the armed groups;
- Reiterated the international community readiness to take targeted sanctions against those who violate the ceasefire in Tripoli;
- Expressed willingness to take initiatives for building the capacity of Libya’s security institutions, including the Joint Operations Centre, also through training activities of regular security and police forces;
- Underlined the role of the neighboring countries in the Libyan stabilization process;
- Expressed their concern at the security and humanitarian situation in parts of Libya and particularly in the South and committed to stabilize the region, and restore basic services for the affected population;
- Underlined the importance to engage in order to favor the return of the IDPs;
- Stressed the need to step up coordination of regional and international efforts to tackle the common migration challenge and fight against human trafficking, in full respect of national sovereignty and international human rights law.
- Recalled the economic reforms recently adopted by the GNA and urged to continue moving forward with their implementation, in collaboration with UNSMIL and international financial institutions, in order to provide the resources and investments that underpin basic services to all Libyan regions and people, and improve their living conditions;
- Welcomed the commitment to further comprehensive monetary and subsidy reforms on the basis of the road map presented in Palermo and urged for their swift adoption;
- Welcomed the ongoing efforts to promote accountability within the economic institutions, and stressed the need to overcome any form of predation, corruption and lack of transparency, in order to allow all the Libyan people to benefit from the Libyan resources;
- Called for the relevant international organizations to provide the Libyan authorities with expertise and technical support to achieve these goals.
Participants, welcomed the Libyan commitment to:
- Launch an enhanced dialogue on fiscal transparency and budget execution, in order to answer the Libyan call for accountability, and for a transparent and equitable resources distribution;
- Implement the agreement on the terms of reference for the financial review of the Central Bank of Libya and its eastern parallel branch and to work toward the reunification of the economic institutions, through UNSMIL-facilitated dialogue.
Participants recalled that any solution to the Libyan crisis can only be a peaceful and political one, in full respect of Libyan sovereignty and a national reconciliation process involving all Libyans who are willing to participate and peacefully contribute to the Libyan transition.