Libya ceasefire and elections agreed in Paris talks

Libya – 25 July initiative – Statement by M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic (excerpts)

La Celle Saint-Cloud, 25 July 2017


I believe that the cause of peace in Libya has made great progress today, and I really want to thank you for the work done – thank the Chairman of the Presidential Council, His Excellency Fayez Sarraj, and the Commander of the Libyan National Army, His Excellency General Khalifa Haftar, who have today adopted the joint declaration which has just been read to you and which marks out the path, the road map for national reconciliation in support of the United Nations Secretary-General’s very next Special Representative for Libya, Mr Ghassan Salamé, whom I welcome alongside us today.

I profoundly believe that there’s nothing inevitable about civil war and that, through dialogue, peace can prevail. That’s what today’s stage serves to demonstrate in reality and what I’d like to thank you for. It’s what I believe we’ve helped to do today for the Libyan people, for stability in the region and for the success of the implacable battle we’re fighting against terrorism.

On 17 December 2015, a historic agreement was signed in Skhirat under the aegis of United Nations mediation, and since then many obstacles have prevented it from being fully implemented, despite the efforts made by all Libya’s friends and by Libyans of goodwill. This has caused great suffering for the Libyan people, increasingly dangerous attacks by Daesh [so-called ISIL] in Libya itself and against Tunisia, with the risk of Libya becoming a haven for terrorist organizations. And I sincerely hope that this violence, these divisions, this hatred can now be consigned to the past.

Significant military successes have been achieved under your authorities against terrorist groups, in Benghazi thanks to the Libyan National Army and in Sirte thanks to the action of Operation al-Bunyan al-Marsous, and I pay tribute to all those combatants. And at the same time, by establishing himself again in Tripoli, the Chairman of the Presidential Council, Mr Sarraj, has done everything to start building a Libyan state with effective and respected institutions. But political and military rivalries are threatening to annihilate these efforts. And it was in this context that a new boost was necessary.

Here I want to commend the action of the United Nations Secretary-General’s previous Special Representative, Mr Martin Kobler, who worked for a year to persuade the various parties to implement the Skhirat agreement, and here I want to commend the work done by the European Union, especially by Italy and my friend Paolo Gentiloni – who worked hard too and with whom we had many discussions to prepare for today’s declaration –, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and the African Union, which have taken many initiatives, pursuing the same goal, which we’ve just endorsed today in this joint declaration, i.e. that of reconciliation and peace.

Today, Chairman Sarraj and General Haftar can become the symbols of national unity and of a commitment to reconciliation and peace. And I want to tell you very solemnly that your courage today in being here and agreeing to this joint declaration is historic. It’s that of taking the risk, despite any differences you had, despite the actions of various parties, to work together in a process of national reconciliation and of building long-term peace.

During this meeting, you’ve pledged to give up the armed struggle – except, of course, against terrorist groups. And so what’s been endorsed in the declaration that has just been read is a process, firstly of a ceasefire – clearly essential for any progress –, an agreement to move towards an electoral process in the spring, obviously in the current framework of the Skhirat agreement, and work on an inclusive political reconciliation aimed at giving a role to all those political groups which intend to amend the Skhirat agreement in the long term and build the constitutional framework that can arise from the electoral process.

It’s through this road map that peace and national reconciliation can be built. The challenges of this reconciliation are huge. They’re huge for the Libyan people, who, for several years, have experienced suffering, destabilization and the terrorist threat. They’re considerable for the whole region, because if Libya fails, the whole region will fail with it, and particularly the adjacent countries. And it’s a process which is essential for the whole of Europe, because unless we succeed in this process, the consequences on our countries are direct, because of the terrorist risks and migratory consequences that such a failure would bring about.

The process will make it possible to build this reconciliation and fight even more effectively against terrorism and trafficking, because the two are linked throughout the region. Eradicating the arms trafficking which fuels terrorist groups, which is directly linked to the situation of destabilization we’re seeing in the Sahel and which our soldiers must combat with [Operation] Barkhane. Eradicating the human trafficking which fuels migration routes and had led to several hundred thousand migrants being in Libya, which deeply destabilizes the country, destabilizes Europe and fuels the trafficking whose only beneficiaries today are the terrorist movements themselves. Finally, as we know, it’s financial trafficking that underpins the terrorists’ activities throughout the region, whether it be finance linked to oil activities or any other finance – whatever form it takes – enabling terrorists to remain active in the region.

We share and will always share the determination you have today. I’ll do everything to support your efforts, both in this reconciliation process and in effectively combating all those terrorist groupings, be they from outside Libya, on Libyan territory or exploiting the Libya situation in to our own countries.

What’s happening in Libya today is, in a way, at the epicentre of a multifaceted destabilization. This destabilization is produced by the terrorists of Daesh, al-Qaeda and many other movements acting in the Middle East and the rest of Africa. They should be eradicated from Libyan territory, and you should be helped with this. Secondly, in order to thrive, those movements also seek to profit from the political destabilization and the economic and financial windfalls that may exist in Libya. There again, we’ll take resolute action to halt this trend.

The European Union and our main European partners are fully in agreement with the initiative being taken here. (…)

A lot has just been done, but a lot remains to be done, and we discussed at length and in detail the political process you’ll have to lead, the security process to halt this trafficking from outside Libya or on the Libyan coast and make the whole of Libyan territory secure, and also the work of economic reconciliation that will enable your government to take effective action for the benefit of the Libyan people while not being defrauded by particular interest groups.

It’s now up to the United Nations Secretary-General’s next Special Representative for Libya, Mr Ghassan Salamé – whose presence is very important – to help all the protagonists over the coming months, to ensure that the Skhirat agreement bears all its fruit, including the adoption of a constitution and the organization of elections. Along with its partners in the European Union, the Security Council and the region, particularly the Arab League and African Union, France will remain fully active and committed to a peace which is also, for us, a national, regional and international security imperative.

I have to tell you, the Libyan people deserve this peace, we owe it to them and the Mediterranean needs it. I therefore thank Chairman Fayez Sarraj and General Khalifa Haftar for the promise you’ve made to us today and for your commitment, and I also want to assure you of our full commitment alongside you.

Thank you./.

Libya – 25 July initiative – Joint declaration¹

La Celle Saint-Cloud, 25 July 2017

In support of the action of the United Nations and in the framework of the implementation of the Skhirat Agreement, taking into account the initiatives of the international organizations working on Libya including the African Union, the European Union and the League of Arab States, and underlining the efforts made by Libya’s friend countries and partners in recent months, particularly Egypt, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Tunisia and Italy,

The President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, wished to contribute to resolving the Libyan crisis by inviting to La Celle Saint-Cloud on 25 July 2017 the Chairman of the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord, Fayez Sarraj, and the commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar.

This initiative fully supports the role of the new Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Ghassan Salamé, who took part in the discussions on 25 July. France’s aim is to contribute to drawing up a political solution and helping the Libyans strengthen the Skhirat Libyan Political Agreement to make it more effective and inclusive.

The meeting in La Celle Saint-Cloud follows on from the meetings already held at various levels in Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Algeria, taking up their consensual elements. It aims to foster sustained and inclusive inter-Libyan dialogue in which all actors in good faith have a role to play.

In this context, the following declaration was adopted by the Libyan parties present:

“We, Fayez Sarraj, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, and Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, met in La Celle Saint-Cloud on 25 July 2017 at the invitation of the President of the French Republic and in the presence of Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Libya, in order to advance the cause of national reconciliation, and have agreed as follows:

1. The solution to the Libya crisis can only be a political one and requires a national reconciliation process involving all Libyans, including the institutional, security and military actors who are prepared to participate peacefully, with the safe return of displaced persons and refugees and the creation of a transitional justice, reparation and national amnesty process as well as the implementation of Article 34 on security arrangements of the Libyan Political Agreement.

2. We commit to a ceasefire and to refrain from any use of armed force for any purpose that does not strictly constitute counter-terrorism, in compliance with the Libyan Political Agreement and international treaties, and in order to protect Libya’s territory and sovereignty and we strongly condemn all that threatens the stability of the territory.

3. We are committed to building the rule of law in a sovereign, civilian and democratic Libya that ensures the separation and peaceful transfer of powers and respect for human rights, and that has unified national institutions, such as the Central Bank of Libya, the National Oil Corporation and the Libyan Investment Authority. It should guarantee the safety of citizens, the integrity of the territory and the sovereignty of the State and the proper management of natural and financial resources in the interest of all Libyans.

4. We are determined, supported by the impartial work of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, to make effective the Libyan Political Agreement of 17 December 2015 and to continue political dialogue building on the Abu Dhabi meeting of 3 May 2017.

5. We will make all efforts to support the consultations and work of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, which need to be the subject of inclusive political dialogue in which the House of Representatives and the High Council of State will play their full role.

6. We will continue our dialogue beyond La Celle Saint-Cloud meeting, pursuant to this declaration, and we commit to create conditions that are conducive to the work of the House of Representatives, the High Council of State and the High National Election Commission for the preparation of the upcoming elections.

7. We will make all efforts to integrate fighters who so wish into the regular forces and call for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the others into civilian life. The Libyan army will be made up of lawful military forces ensuring the defence of the Libyan territory in compliance with Article 33 of the Libyan Political Agreement.

8. We have decided to work on establishing a roadmap for the security and defence of the Libyan territory against threats and trafficking of all types. We will work so that all security and military forces present adhere to this plan in the framework of the reunification of the military and security institutions in order to coordinate in the fight against terrorism, control migration flows through the Libyan territory, secure and control borders, and combat organized criminal networks that instrumentalize Libya and destabilize the Central Mediterranean.

9. We solemnly commit to work towards the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible as from 25 July in cooperation with the relevant institutions and with the support and under the supervision of the United Nations.

10.We ask the United Nations Security Council to support the guidelines of this declaration, and the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to engage in the necessary consultations with the different Libyan actors.”

¹Source of English text: French Presidency website.

Published on 02/08/2017

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