Thank you President, and allow me to thank SRSG Bathi for his inaugural briefing to the Council and congratulate him on taking up his appointment. SRSG Batili – you have the full support of the United Kingdom in the implementation of your mandate. I also welcome the participation of the Permanent Representative of Libya in our meeting today.
President, it is regrettable that the Libyan political elite has not made further progress in agreeing on a basis for holding free, fair and inclusive parliamentary and presidential elections. I therefore applaud the efforts of SRSG Batili to engage with all Libyan parties across the country, including civil society, women’s and youth groups.
As a Council, we should now appeal to all Libyan parties, especially Libyan political leaders, to work constructively with SRSG Batili and agree on a road map for the elections as soon as possible. This is in the interest of the entire Libyan people.
President, I would also like to highlight two areas that undermine the prospects for free, fair and inclusive elections. Firstly, the UK is deeply concerned by reports of increased restrictions and a deteriorating operating space for civil society in Libya. In addition to administrative obstacles, civil society organizations reportedly face an escalation in the level and frequency of scrutiny of their operations.
A vibrant civil society is key to holding free, fair and inclusive elections. It is an essential component of a functioning democracy, leading to greater stability and prosperity. We therefore call on all Libyan authorities to ensure a safe, secure and unhindered working environment for civil society.
Second, Mr. President, we call on all Libyan parties to protect the neutrality, integrity and reunification of public institutions to ensure that Libya’s wealth is used for the good of all citizens. Reports of misuse of public funds, outlined in a recent report by the Audit Bureau, damage the credibility of Libyan institutions. These institutions must be supported to serve all of Libya and all of the Libyan people.
Finally, Mr. President, I would like to thank the members of the Council for their constructive engagement in the negotiations on the renewal of UNSMIL’s mandate for one year. We look forward to adopting the resolution later this week. Thank you.