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Statement by Mr Alain Juppé, ministre d'Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs

Permenant Mission of France to the United Nations

17 March 2011 - Security Council - Libya - Statement by Mr Alain Juppé, ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs

(Unofficial translation)

Mr. President,

I want to thank you for your warm welcoming words which I have been very sensitive to.

Ms Vice-Secretary-General


Ladies and Gentlemen,

The world is undergoing one of these great revolutions that change the course of history: from North Africa to the Persian Gulf, the Arab people proclaim their desire for freedom and democracy.

In Tunisia, with the “Jasmine Revolution,” and then in Egypt, with the events of January 25, a great hope has risen: the people maturely expressed their aspiration for democracy.

In Morocco, in a courageous and visionary speech, the king announced the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.

This « new Arab spring » is for us, I am sure, good news. It is our duty and it is in our interest to accompany it with faith and availability, not to give anyone lessons or impose models but to help every people build its own future.

In Libya, for several weeks, popular will has been trampled by the regime of Colonel Qaddafi, who is conducting a murderous clampdown on its own population.

That’s the reason why the UN General Assembly, on the recommendation of the Human Rights Council on 25 February, has suspended Libya from this Council.

That’s why, as early as 26 February, the Security Council believed that “the systematic and widespread attacks perpetrated against the civilian population could constitute crimes against humanity.” Through resolution 1970 adopted unanimously, it recalled that the Libyan authorities have the responsibility to protect the people of Libya.

It demanded “that the violence be stopped immediately.” It also referred those responsible for these crimes to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and imposed sanctions on Qaddafi, his family and his accomplices. Lastly, it decided to impose an arms embargo on Libya.

These measures were not enough. Throughout the country, violence perpetrated against the civilian populations has only intensified.

Faced with this intolerable situation, the international community reacted as one in order to denounce these crimes.

— It did so within the framework of the European Union at the extraordinary meeting of the European Council on 11 March;

— It did so within the framework of the G8 last Tuesday in Paris;

— It did so within the framework of the regional organizations. I would like to pay tribute to the Arab League which expressed its views very clearly in the 12 March resolution by asking for a no-fly zone. I would also like to commend the involvement of the African Union, which called for a halt to the violence against civilians.

Despite these calls for peace and for the respect of human rights, the situation in Libya is now more alarming than ever. As I speak to you, Qaddafi’s troops continue to violently recapture towns and territories that were freed. We cannot allow these warmongers to go on. We cannot leave to their own devices civilian populations who are the victims of a brutal repression. We cannot let international law and morality be flouted.

This is why France has contributed with all its means to the reaction of the international community by working, along with Great-Britain and the United States and others, on a draft resolution which we have in front of us.

With this resolution, we are giving ourselves the means to protect the civilian population.

— First, by authorizing the establishment of a no-fly zone and authorizing members of the Arab League and member states that wish to do so, to take the necessary measures to its implementation.

— Then by authorizing these States to take, along with the no-fly zone, all necessary measures to protect the populations and the territories, including Benghazi, which are under the threat of an attack by the forces of the Qaddafi regime.

— Finally, this resolution makes it possible to strengthen sanctions against the Qaddafi regime, whether it be with respect to the arms embargo, the moratorium on oil revenues, or the prohibition of certain financial transactions.

France solemnly calls on all the members of the Security Council to support this initiative and to adopt this resolution. If this mandate is passed, France is ready to act, with the member States, including Arab ones, who want to.

We are running out of time. It is a matter of days, maybe a matter of hours. With every day, every hour that passes, the forces of repression are clamping down on civilian populations in quest of freedom, in particular the population of Benghazi.

Every day, every hour that passes increases the weight of responsibility that weighs on our shoulders.

Let us not be too late !

The honour of the Security Council will be upheld if in Libya we make sure that law prevails against force, democracy against dictatorship, freedom against oppression.

Thank you.

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