The International Contact Group for Libya (ICG-L) convened its 3 rd meeting, at ministerial level, in Niamey, Niger, on 1 April 2015. The meeting was co-chaired by the African Union (AU)
Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smaïl Chergui, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, African Integration and Citizens of Niger living Abroad of the Republic of Niger, H.E. Aichatou Boulama Kané, who made statements during the opening ceremony. The ceremony also featured statements by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe,
Honourable Simbarashe S. Mumbengegwi, on behalf of the Chairman of the Union, and the United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Taye Brook Zerihoun. The list of countries and organisations that attended the meeting is indicated below1 .
On the basis of the updates provided by the AU Commission, the UN Secretariat, Algeria and Egypt, on behalf of the Ministerial Committee of Libya’s neighbors, as well as by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Libya, Participants reviewed the evolution of the situation in Libya since the 2 nd meeting of the ICG-L, held in Addis Ababa on 28 January 2015, on the margins of the 24th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government. They also reviewed the efforts being made at regional, continental and international levels to end the violence afflicting Libya, as well as facilitate an inclusive political dialogue among the Libyan stakeholders, with the objective of promoting national reconciliation and successfully completing the ongoing Transition. Finally, they discussed the best ways and means of enhancing international coordination and engagement through the ICG-L.
Participants expressed their deep concern about the continuation of violence, in spite of the repeated appeals of the international community to the parties to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful and negotiated solution to the conflict in their country. In this regard, they noted the continued fighting between the armed belligerents in various parts of Libya and the use of violence against civilians and civilian institutions, including aerial bombing and other attacks targeting public infrastructure and facilities, such as airports, State institutions and other critical national infrastructure and assets. They reiterated their dismay at the resulting catastrophic humanitarian consequences, including internal displacements and flow of refugees towards the neighboring countries. They also noted the increasing flow of illegal migration to Europe as a result of the collapse of state structures in Libya and the related humanitarian tragedies, particularly during attempts to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
Reiterating, once again, that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Libya,
Participants strongly condemned the continuation of violence, the attacks against innocent civilians, acts of torture and mistreatment and all other violations of the International Humanitarian Law and human rights law. They underlined the need to hold all those responsible for those acts accountable and to effectively deal with the spoilers. In this respect, they welcomed the decision of the Security Council, in resolution 2213 (2015), to strengthen the sanction regime against spoilers.
Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Chad, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Mauritania, Niger, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Tunisia, USA, Zimbabwe (Chair of the Union), AU, CEN-SAD, EU, LAS, OIC and UN.
Participants called for an immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities, welcoming in this respect the recently declared ceasefire in the Sidra Oil Crescent area and the subsequent commencement of the withdrawal of forces, the promotion and respect for human rights, including those of women, children and vulnerable groups, including foreign migrants; and the release of all individual arbitrarily arrested or detained. They strongly appealed to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and other UN relevant agencies to urgently provide humanitarian assistance to the affected people and to deploy staff in Libya’s safe areas.
Participants expressed their deep concern about the worsening of the scourge of terrorism in Libya. They noted the continued activities of Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups and individuals, the presence, in Libya, of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as Daesh, and the declarations of allegiance to ISIL by terrorist groups operating in Libya. They strongly condemned the terrorist acts committed over the past few weeks, including the kidnapping and killing of a number of Egyptian citizens, car bombing in al-Qubba, Eastern Libya, and other equally cowardly and heinous attacks.
Participants highlighted that the prevailing situation in Libya, including the safe havens established by domestic and foreign terrorist groups in the country and proliferation of weapons and ammunitions emanating from Libyan military depots, poses a threat to peace, security and stability in the region and beyond. They referred in this respect to the terrorist attack on 18 March 2015 at the Bardo Museum, in Tunis, perpetrated by elements trained in Libya. They strongly condemned this attack and expressed their solidarity with the people and Government of Tunisia, as well as support to their efforts to combat the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism.
Participants stressed the need to intensify international efforts to address the growing terrorist threat in Libya. They expressed support for the steps being taken in this respect, it being understood that all counter-terrorism measures should comply with Member States obligations, under human rights and international humanitarian law, as well as other relevant African and international instruments. They welcomed the adoption of resolution 2214 (2015) of 27 March 2015, which called upon the Sanctions Committee, established, pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) to consider requests for the transfer or supply of arms and related materials to the Libyan Government for use by its official Armed Forces to combat ISIL and its supporters, and called upon the international community, within the framework of the relevant provisions this resolution, to extend the necessary assistance to Libya. They also welcomed the inclusion, in the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), as renewed by resolution 2213 (2015) of 27 March 2015, of tasks to support securing uncontrolled arms and related material, as well as countering their proliferation.
Participants welcomed and expressed support for the UN-led political dialogue, under the facilitation of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, notably the meeting that brought together the Libyan stakeholders in Ghadames (Libya) in early February 2015, commending both the House of Representatives (HoR) and the former General National Congress (GNC) for attending these talks, as well as the subsequent discussions among Libyans in Skhirat (Morocco), between 5 and 13 March 2015, with the objective of establishing a Government of National Unity, addressing security arrangements, and completing the process of drafting the Constitution. They also welcomed the meeting of leaders of Libyan political parties and personalities, held in Algiers, Algeria, on 10 and 11 March 2015, during which the delegates solemnly expressed their commitment to the preservation of the unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Libya, rejecting any external interference ; pledged support to the political process, based on the principles of democracy and peaceful transfer of power; underlined that dialogue as the only solution to the crisis in Libya; and acknowledged the need for concerted efforts to combat all forms and manifestations of terrorism. Participants commended the representatives of the Libyan municipalities and local councils who met in Brussels, Belgium, on 23 and 24 March 2015, to address a number of issues of concern, including humanitarian challenges, release of detainees and status of missing and displaced persons and the functioning of airports. They looked forward to the envisaged holding of a meeting of Libyan tribal leaders in Cairo, Egypt, as a contribution to confidence building among the Libyans and to the stabilization of the country.
Participants urged the Libyan stakeholders to take bolder steps towards achieving a political solution to the current crisis, bearing in mind the urgency of the situation and the untold suffering inflicted upon their people. They underlined their primary responsibility in ending the unfolding tragedy in their country. They encouraged the Libyan Government and the House of Representatives, as the legitimate legislative body, to spare no efforts in furthering an inclusive political solution, involving all those renouncing violence and with no links with the terrorist groups.
Participants reiterated their support for the efforts being undertaken by the neighboring countries to facilitate reconciliation among all Libyans, in particular those by Algeria. They recalled that, at their 9th consultative meeting held in Addis Ababa, on 12 March 2015, the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the UN Security Council lent their support to these efforts.
Participants underlined the critical role of the neighboring countries of Libya in the search for a lasting solution, noting the regional impact of the crisis, particularly in terms of security and flow of refugees. They acknowledged the need for the international community to fully take advantage of their intimate knowledge of the situation and the actors in Libya, in order to foster the ongoing efforts. They also welcomed the commitment of the AU to enhance its role in the ongoing efforts, in line with its responsibilities towards the promotion of peace and security on the continent, as provided for by Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. They called for continuous efforts to ensure effective coordination between the AU and the UN, within the framework of the partnership between the two organizations in the area of peace and security, including the involvement of the AU in all meetings and consultations held as part of the UN-led efforts, to enable the Commission adequately update the members of the ICG-L and the AU Member States. They also welcomed the efforts of other international stakeholders, including the League of Arab States, the European Union (EU) and other stakeholders, bearing in mind the need for close coordination and harmonization, within the framework of the ICG-L.
Participants reiterated the central role of the International Contact Group in ensuring a coordinated international engagement towards the search for a lasting solution to the crisis in Libya, building on the comparative advantages of all concerned international stakeholders. They pledged to spare no efforts in strengthening the Group, to enable it to fully fulfill its mandate, including facilitating a continuous exchange of information on the situation prevailing on the ground and the evolution of the related international efforts; harmonizing of messaging, to ensure that the international community speaks with one voice and maximize its leverage and capacity to ICG-L/CONCL.(III)
Page 4 positively influence the course of events in Libya; and identifying gaps and duplications in international action and advising on how best to address them. They agreed to consider specific proposals to this end, and took note of the intention of the AU to submit a working paper in this respect, before the next meeting of the Group.
Participants noted that their meeting took place against the backdrop of successful elections in Nigeria, noting that these mark a further step in the deepening of democracy and the rule of law in Africa, in line with the commitments made within the framework of the relevant AU instruments, including the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. They congratulated President-elect Muhammadu Buhari for his victory and expressed appreciation to the outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan for gracefully accepting the results of the elections. They commended the people of Nigeria for their maturity and commitment to peaceful political change. They also expressed their deep appreciation to the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria for successfully organizing the polls, in spite of the challenging circumstances on the ground, particularly in terms of security. They looked forward to Nigeria’s continued and enhanced contribution to regional and continental efforts aimed at promoting peace and security, including neutralizing the Boko Haram terrorist group and assisting the Libyan people overcome the serious and multifaceted challenges confronting them.
Participants thanked the Government of Niger and the AU Commission for all the arrangements made to ensure the successful convening of the 3 rd meeting of the ICG-L. They agreed to convene their next meeting in June 2015, on the margins of the AU Summit, to be followed by a meeting in Madrid, Spain, at a date to be agreed upon through consultations.