Statement by the NATO PA President on the situation in Libya and NATO’s role

03 July 2020

President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Attila Mesterhazy (Hungary) issued the following statement today about the situation in Libya and NATO’s role:

“The recent naval incident between the French frigate Le Courbet – part of NATO’s operation Sea Guardian – and Turkish navy ships in the Mediterranean has led two NATO Allies – France and Turkey – to comment publicly about their diverging assessments over what happened, as well as highlight their differences over how to deal with the ongoing crisis in Libya. 

NATO Defence Ministers discussed the incident at their meeting on 17-18 June, and asked NATO military authorities to conduct an investigation into what happened. The NATO Secretary General also reaffirmed the Alliance’s commitment to the UN-led process and the implementation of UN decisions, including arms embargoes.

The NATO PA Bureau discussed the incident at its meeting on 22 June, with Vice-President Philippe Folliot – who initiated the exchange - and Vice-President Osman Askin Bak, in particular, engaging in an open and frank discussion. The special meeting which will be held on the margins of the NATO PA’s Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group online meeting on 8 July will provide a further opportunity for parliamentarians from all 30 members of NATO to exchange views on the situation in Libya and NATO’s role in support of the UN-led process, UN arms embargo and the Berlin process. 

Whatever serious differences Allies have had in the past, they have been able to overcome them through dialogue and a common commitment to NATO and the unique bond binding NATO members together.  I am confident that today’s situation will be no different. 

The “NATO 2030” reflection process which Allied Heads of State and Government initiated in December 2019 provides an important opportunity to strengthen political dialogue within NATO on issues on which Allies agree, as well as those on which they disagree. The NATO PA will contribute actively to this reflection process. The Assembly also serves as an important platform for political dialogue among the elected representatives of the people of the 30 member states of the Alliance. In this situation as in others, parliamentary diplomacy can support and complement governmental diplomacy. The NATO PA will continue to play its part in building consensus among Allied legislators on all key issues affecting Europe and North America’s security and keeping NATO strong and united.”