- The present report, submitted pursuant to Security Council resolutions 2510 (2020) and 2542 (2020), covers political, security-related and economic developments in Libya, provides an overview of the human rights and humanitarian situation, and includes an outline of the activities of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) since the issuance of my previous report on UNSMIL (S/2021/62) on 19 January 2021 and my progress report on the proposed ceasefire monitoring arrangements in Libya (S/2021/281) on 22 March 2021.
II. Political, security-related and economic developments
Since the issuance of my previous report on UNSMIL (S/2021/62) and my progress report (S/2021/281), UNSMIL has continued to convene the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum to pursue the implementation of the road map entitled “The preparatory phase for a comprehensive solution”, adopted in Tunis in November 2020. On 5 February 2021, the members of the Forum selected a new interim executive authority to lead the country towards national elections, to be held on 24 December 2021. Mohammad Younes Menfi was selected as President-designate of the Presidency Council, while Mossa al-Koni and Abdullah Hussein al-Lafi were selected as members-designate of the Council. The Forum members selected Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah as the new Prime Minister-designate.
On 8 February, my new Special Envoy on Libya and Head of UNSMIL, Ján Kubiš, took up his duties. He met with Libyan actors in Tripoli and Benghazi from 15 to 20 February, and subsequently held consultations with national, regional and international actors, virtually and in person. In his engagements, the Special Envoy highlighted the importance of advancing the implementation of the ceasefire agreement signed on 23 October 2020 at the United Nations Office at Geneva. He emphasized the need to support the new interim unified executive authority in its mission to unify Libya and its institutions, and stressed the importance of preparing for the holding of national elections on 24 December, as stipulated in the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum road map.
Following discussions on the agenda and location of the next session of the House of Representatives, foreign fighters and mercenaries in and around Sirte were repositioned to enable the reopening of Ghardabiya airport so that the members of the House could attend its meeting in Sirte from 8 to 10 March. However, most of the foreign fighters and mercenaries subsequently returned to their original positions.
On 10 March, with more than two-thirds of the total membership of the House of Representatives present, the new Government of National Unity proposed by the Prime Minister-designate received a vote of confidence, with 132 votes in favour of the proposed Government, 2 abstentions and 36 absent members. I welcomed the endorsement of the Government by the House in a statement issued on 10 March. The Security Council welcomed the vote of confidence in a presidential statement (S/PRST/2021/6) issued on 12 March. Several Member States and the Libya Quartet partners, namely, the African Union, the European Union, the League of Arab States and the United Nations, also welcomed the endorsement.
On 15 March, the Government of National Unity was sworn in by the House of Representatives during a ceremony held in Tubruq. The Speaker of the House, Agila Saleh Gwaider, the President of the High State Council, Khaled Mishri, and several international observers, including the Assistant Secretary-General and Mission Coordinator, Raisedon Zenenga, attended the ceremony. The new Government includes 35 ministers, 5 of whom are women, with the position of Minister of Defence currently occupied by Mr. Dbeibah. Separately, the President-designate of the Presidency Council and his two deputies-designate took the constitutional oath before the Supreme Court in Tripoli, also on 15 March. On 17 March, the House announced that it had received for its consideration from the Government a draft budget proposal in the amount of 96 billion Libyan dinars (approximately $21 billion).
Following the swearing-in of the Government of National Unity, power was transferred from the outgoing Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord to the new Presidency Council and the Government of National Unity at a handover ceremony on 16 March at the seat of government in Tripoli. On 23 March, the Deputy Prime Minister, Hussein al-Qatrani, led a ministerial visit to Benghazi to mark the handover of responsibilities from the parallel eastern-based “interim government” to the Government of National Unity.
From 23 to 30 March, my Special Envoy travelled to Libya to encourage the implementation of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum road map, in particular to mobilize the support and resources required to hold national elections on 24 December. The Special Envoy met with the Presidency Council, the Prime Minister and members of the Government of National Unity. He also met with the Chair of the High National Elections Commission to follow up on technical preparations for the elections and the international support required, and with representatives of civil society organizations and women’s groups in Tripoli and Misratah.
Meanwhile, in response to the request made in the letter dated 4 February 2021 from the President of the Security Council addressed to the Secretary -General (S/2021/110), the Libya planning team at United Nations Headquarters established a multidisciplinary and inter-agency advance team. From 3 to 28 March, the advance team conducted consultations with relevant stakeholders, including the 5+5 Joint Military Commission, in Benghazi, Misratah, Sirte and Tripoli. The advance team also conducted site visits to assess key operational, security, administrative, logistical and medical requirements pertaining to the ceasefire monitoring component to be established within UNSMIL in support of the Libyan-led and Libyan-owned ceasefire monitoring mechanism.
On 22 March, I submitted to the Security Council a progress report on the proposed ceasefire monitoring arrangements in Libya (S/2021/281). On 7 April, I submitted additional information on the composition and operational aspects of the proposed UNSMIL ceasefire monitoring component in a letter addressed to the President of the Council (S/2021/353). The Council approved my proposals through its resolution 2570 (2021), adopted on 16 April.
While the ceasefire agreement continued to hold, UNSMIL received reports of fortifications and defensive positions being established along the Sirte-Jufrah axis in central Libya, and of the continued presence of foreign elements and assets. Despite the commitments made by the parties, air cargo activities reportedly continued, with flights to various military airbases in the country’s western and eastern regions. Reports indicated that there was no reduction in the number of foreign fighters or in their activities in central Libya.