Libya: Participants in Berlin Conference Pledge to End Support for Rival Sides
Attendees in the Sunday Berlin Conference vowed to end support to conflicting sides in the Libyan crisis and stick to the UN arms embargo imposed on the North African country, host Angela Merkel said.
“We agreed that we want to respect that embargo on weapon and that it will be strictly respected, more than before,” she said in a joint press conference with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, UN envoy to Libya Ghassan salamé, and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
“We have received commitments from all of the participants not to give any further support to these warring parties so that the UN arms embargo is respected and the truce holds,” she added.
Turkey according to the German Chancellor pledged not to send additional weaponry or ammunition to Libya during this process.
Merkel added that Libya’s warring parties agreed to designate members to a military commission with five members from each side as foreseen by the UN to monitor implementation of the cease-fire. Ghassan Salame named at the conference the members of the proposed 5+5 military committee to discuss further details and reach a permanent ceasefire as part of the security dialogue in Libya. The committee will convene next week, Merkel said.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on his part said that all participants agreed that there can be no military solution to the Libyan crisis despite the fact that some of them may have been part of the conflict.
Guterres added that the participants in Berlin had all sent a message that the solution in Libya is peaceful and that they were all committed to this track and would not intervene in the conflict.
The UN chief urged the parties to “engage in good faith dialogue on political, economic and military issues in a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned inclusive process”, which, he affirmed, will be supported by the UN.
A meeting to discuss the economic reform necessary for the normal governance of Libya will take place in the next two to three weeks, he said.
The German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the goals set at the Berlin conference had been achieved and that the UN will now supervise the peace track in Libya starting February.
Twelve countries, including world powers, as well as international and regional organizations gathered in Berlin to discuss solutions to the Libyan military conflict.
General Khalifa Haftar’s forces have besieged the capital since April, and the fighting has been fuelled by increasing foreign interference. The Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar is supported by Egypt, the UAE, Russia and some other Middle Eastern States.
The GNA, which is backed by the UN, has turned to Turkey for its protection. The GNA and Ankara signed in late November a maritime and security agreement, allowing Turkey to send forces and military equipment to back the GNA.
Around 2,000 Syrian militiamen aligned with the Turkish government and a dozen of Turkish forces have already been deployed in Tripoli to help resist Haftar’s offensive.
The GNA also has received support from Italy and Qatar, both invited to the Berlin conference.