Prof. U. Joy Ogwu
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
New York, NY
17th March, 2011
Resolution 1973 (2011), which was just adopted, was necessitated by the persistently grave and dire situation in Libya. Notwithstanding the clear expression of our common will and the comprehensive measures instituted under resolution 1970 (2011), the Libyan authorities have continued to violate the terms of the resolution and fundamental principles of international law.
The current state of affairs leaves an indelible imprint on the conscience and moves us to act. The magnitude of this humanitarian disaster is indeed what compelled Nigeria to vote in favour of resolution 1973 (2011). Our persistent calls for peace are rooted in the need to ensure the safety and dignity of and the availability of humanitarian assistance for a population in need, many of whom are Nigerian nationals. The emphasis of the resolution on the protection of civilians under threat of attack and the provisions for humanitarian assistance do much to address these concerns.
The League of Arab States and the African Union have spoken with one voice in condemnation of the situation in Libya — and rightly so, as the crisis is one of regional import.
As a member of the Security Council and a member of the African Union, Nigeria maintains that foreign occupation is not an option to secure peace in Libya. We acknowledge the language in resolution 1973 (2011) that specifically carves out that possibility, constraining the actions of States seeking to play a role in the quest for peace. Moreover, we are guided by an overriding determination to respect the unity and territorial integrity of Libya. We are also encouraged by the fact that the resolution supports the political path to conflict resolution, underscoring as it does the efforts of the African Union high-level committee, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy and other interlocutors.
Today, we have sent an unequivocal message to the Libyan people that the dignity and safety of every man, woman and child is paramount. It is important that when civilians in grave danger cry out, the international community, undaunted, is ready to respond.