India has called on the international community to focus its attention on the threat of terrorism in Africa, in particular the Sahel region, saying it must be ensured that terrorist groups and affiliated entities are not allowed to operate unchallenged in Libya.
Geographically, the Sahel region stretches from Senegal on the Atlantic coast, through parts of Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Sudan to Eritrea on the Red Sea coast.
Speaking at the UNSC briefing/consultation on United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti on Monday said that the report of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has highlighted the presence of training camps of Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) in southern Libya.
“It is important that the international community focuses its attention on the threat of terrorism in Africa, in particular in the Sahel region. We must ensure that terrorist groups and affiliated entities are not allowed to operate unchallenged in Libya,” Tirumurti said.
“It is critical for the Security Council to focus and act upon the growing threat of terrorism in Africa,” he said.
Tirumurti is also Chair of the UN Security Council’s Libya Sanctions Committee and presented the committee’s report on Monday to the 15-nation Council.
The Committee discussed issues relating to preserving integrity and value of Libyan frozen assets for the benefit of its people, arms embargo, travel ban exemptions, illicit petroleum exports, he said.
India regrets to note that the presidential and parliamentary elections in the African nation could not be held as scheduled on December 24 last year, the Indian Ambassador said.
“As an objective endorsed by the Libyan people themselves, this could have been an important milestone in the political process, carrying forward the momentum generated by signing of Ceasefire Agreement in October 2020,” he said, expressing hope that all issues relating to elections and candidature will be resolved in time and the elections will be conducted smoothly.
“It is important for the Security Council to support the democratic aspirations of the Libyan people,” Tirumurti said.
He stressed that the most important priority for Libya is holding of elections in a free, fair, inclusive and credible manner and a unified call from the Security Council would support this endeavour.
“We hope that the House of Representatives of Libya will come to an agreement soon to resolve their internal issues,” he said.
India also emphasised that the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Libya needs to be safeguarded and the peace process must be fully Libyan-led and Libyan-owned with no imposition or external interference, Tirumurti said.
Noting the challenges that still remain, he said that the involvement of external forces in the internal affairs of Libya has negatively impacted the progress on the political track; and there has been a resurgence in terrorist activity.
He termed as equally alarming continued violations of the arms embargo.
Tirumurti said that provisions of the Ceasefire Agreement and successive Security Council resolutions need to be respected.
“It is important that the call of the Libyan parties is honoured with regards to the full and complete withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries,” the Indian Ambassador said, adding that there is also need to plan for the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of armed groups and non-state armed actors.
“Libya also needs an inclusive and comprehensive national reconciliation process,” Tirumurti added.