15 May – 21 May: UN Envoy to Libya warns civil war could “lead to the permanent division of the country”

May 21, 2019 | International actors

On 21 May, the UN Envoy to Libya gave a stark address to the UN Security Council. He warned that Libya is on the verge of descending into a civil war “which could lead to the permanent division of the country”. He added that the damage already done will take years to mend, and that’s only if the war is ended now. He stressed that there are numerous reports of extremists, persons under international sanctions, and individuals wanted by the International Criminal Court appearing on the battlefield on all sides.  He recommended that the UNSC support the formation of a Commission of Inquiry to determine who has taken up arms and support the establishment of mechanisms to ensure the exclusion of unwanted elements.

He warned that that arms are pouring into the conflict on all sides, highlighting that the deliver of armoured vehicles to the GNA last week comes after “earlier and ongoing” deliveries of banned modern weaponry to the LNA.  Salame said that many countries are providing weapons to all parties in the conflict without exception, fuelling the conflict. He called for a robust enforcement mechanism of the UN arms embargo, otherwise it will become a “cynical joke”. He also called for the UNSC’s “unequivocal support” in insisting on the application of International Humanitarian Law with all parties to the conflict and the need to sanction those “who use the fog of war to settle violently personal or political scores.”

Salame also noted that UNSMIL has established a mechanism to monitor hate speech on-line and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has already referred a number of cases of incitement to Facebook.

On 16 May, Salame, began a three-day visit to Washington D.C. to meet US House of Representative members and senior US administration officials.