European states underline importance of all tracks of UN-led Berlin process

By Sami Zaptia.

London, 11 October 2020:

The EU as well as Norway, underlined the importance of engaging fully in all tracks of the UN-led Berlin process to reach a permanent and sustainable ceasefire agreement, the restoration of the monopoly of the State on the legitimate use of force all over the country, the reunification of financial institutions, the full lifting of the oil blockade across Libya, and the resumption of the political dialogue.

The statement came yesterday, after the Head of the EU Delegation to Libya and the Ambassadors of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Spain and Sweden, as well as of Norway, presented their credentials to the President of the Presidency Council, Faiez Serraj in Tripoli.

The Ambassadors of the European Union and of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the Chargés d’Affaires of Hungary, the Netherlands, and Poland, together with the Ambassador of Norway, also held joint meetings in Tripoli with Serraj, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed Siala, and Chairman of the National Oil Corporation Mustafa Sanalla.

Yesterday’s statement read: “In our meetings today in Tripoli, we reaffirmed that the EU is united behind the Berlin process as the only option to put an end to the Libyan crisis and the suffering of Libya’s civilian population, and to avoid further destabilisation in Libya and in the region.

There can only be a political solution to the current crisis, which would take the country towards parliamentary and presidential elections. Today, we reiterated our call to all Libyan leaders to engage in good faith in the UN-facilitated Libyan Political Dialogue Forum.  To this end, we expressed our expectation that all representatives invited to the next meeting would attend. We continued to urge efforts to ensure that women are participating and represented at all levels in the ongoing political process.

We stressed that a permanent ceasefire agreement will only be possible through talks and welcomed the announcement of an in-person session of the Joint Military Commission, under the guidance of the UN Mission to Libya (UNSMIL), expecting both sides to conclude their work on a ceasefire agreement as soon as possible.

We reiterated our support for all reform efforts by Libyan authorities in the security sector especially in the context of a comprehensive settlement. The EU is ready to step up its engagement in this regard and will consider any request to provide support for an efficient ceasefire monitoring mechanism in close coordination with UNSMIL.

We welcomed recent efforts to resume oil production while working towards an equitable and transparent management of oil revenues among all regions of the country and urged once more our interlocutors to move forward without further delay on much needed economic reforms, including the reunification of the country’s financial institutions. We expressed our readiness to continue supporting these economic reforms, including through the Economic Working Group of the Berlin Process, which is co-chaired by the EU.

We also discussed the achievements of EU Operation Irini and noted its added value in view of contribution to the implementation of the UN arms embargo and the prevention of oil smuggling. The Operation is an impartial tool at the disposal of the international community and will continue to contribute to the return to peace in Libya.

The EU and its Member States reiterate that the Turkey-Libya Memorandum of Understanding on the delimitation of maritime jurisdictions in the Mediterranean Sea infringes upon the sovereign rights of third States, does not comply with the Law of the Sea and cannot produce any legal consequences for third States.

We pointed out that the EU, as it did recently with five new sanction listings, is ready to take restrictive measures against those who undermine and obstruct work on different tracks of the Berlin process including on the implementation of the UN arms embargo on Libya, as well as those who work against ongoing attempts to reform the security authorities, continue to plunder state funds or commit human rights abuses and violations all over the country.

We expressed our concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation, worsened by the accelerating electricity cuts, and the added threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in Libya. We reaffirmed our commitment to help Libya addressing these challenges. We urged our interlocutors to put an end to arbitrary detention in general, and specifically of migrants and refugees. We expressed our readiness to assist in bringing about alternatives to detention and working towards a comprehensive approach to migration management.

We discussed the importance of respecting international humanitarian law and human rights and of supporting the work and facilitating the access of the UN Fact-Finding Mission. The EU continues to support the forensic investigations of crimes in Tarhouna to identify the victims and promote accountability for grave human rights violations. Today on the World/European Day against the Death Penalty, we called for the establishment of a moratorium on capital punishment with a view to its final abolition.

Finally, we reiterated our commitment to support the Libyan people. European Union funded programmes to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthen democratic institutions, improve service delivery and promote economic recovery in Libya currently amount to €480 million. Our joint presence today for this is a demonstration of our willingness to reinforce our presence and activity in Libya and for the Libyans.”

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