Minister of Foreign Affairs Maas speaks of a big step: after the conference in Berlin Libya, the decisions are now supported by the UN Security Council. Moscow, however, does not believe in the big hit.
More than three weeks after the Libyan summit in Berlin, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution supporting peace decisions in the civil war country. The 15-member United Nations body voted on the draft with a abstention from Russia on Wednesday (local time). Foreign Minister Heiko Maas spoke of a “big step” for a solution to the conflict in Libya. “The results of the Berlin Libya conference are therefore binding on everyone.” The current arms embargo must finally be fully respected.
The resolution, which is available to the German news agency, gives extra emphasis to the Berlin agreement because of its international legal relationship. However, the UN decision contains no new sanctions for breaching the obligations, meaning there is no leverage to meet them. The existing sanctions for parties to the conflict have been reaffirmed for years.
Moscow explains doubts about the resolution
Moscow declared its abstention with a flaw in the resolution: “The lack of clear express consent from the Libyan conflict parties” to the final statement in Berlin. “We have serious doubts whether this resolution in this form will contribute to any solution,” said Russian UN Ambassador Vasily Nebensya.
At the Libyan summit in Berlin on January 19, 16 states and organizations agreed on a civil war peace plan that also includes a ceasefire and the enforcement of the UN arms embargo, which has been in place for years. This Sunday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Maas will welcome the foreign ministers of the participating countries to take stock four weeks after the summit.
Guterres: “Deeply frustrated by what is happening in Libya”
In fact, the progress made so far in the civil war country after the Berlin conference is low. A ceasefire is fragile, the violation of the arms embargo continues, UN head António Guterres said. “I am deeply frustrated with what is happening in Libya and I think it is a scandal,” he said a week ago.
The civil war in Libya, which has been going on since 2011 and faces a weak internationally recognized government and an influential general, has long become a proxy conflict. The conflict parties are mainly supported by Turkey on the one hand, but also by Qatar and Italy, and on the other by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, France and Russia.
The resolution adopted on Wednesday directly refers to, welcomes and supports Berlin’s performance in several places. Among other things, the importance of a “continuous ceasefire” and a functioning import restriction on weapons of war are emphasized. Guterres described support for the Berlin Declaration in January as “very important”.
The UK-led deliberations continued, although all other veto rights – the US, Russia, China and France – besides London had been in Berlin and supported the final statement. Russia in particular would have received some draft requests to amend the negotiations. Diplomats spoke of “difficult conversations”.
When Libya’s resolution was passed, the UN Security Council was unable to demonstrate diplomatic unity due to the abstention from Moscow. The most powerful UN agency is deeply divided in some of today’s most dangerous conflicts, including in Syria, and veto rights often block each other. Russia was the only country to abstain from regular extension of Libyan sanctions on Tuesday.