Berlin conference on peace in Libya: No break-through achieved

Yesterday, the leaders from 12 countries and heads of international organisations gathered in Berlin, Germany, to discuss the necessary steps required to turn the fragile truce around Tripoli, Libya, into a permanent ceasefire. Sadly, there was no break-though achieved as the expectations had not been met.

The Berlin Conference chaired by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel was attended by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, French President Emmanuel Macron, Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, President Denis Sassou Ngueso of the Republic of Congo, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Head of Foreign Affairs in the Chinese communist party’s politburo Yang Jiechi, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, UN Special Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salamé, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, European Parliament President Charles Michel, head of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borell Fontelles, and Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit. The warring sides were presented by General Khalifa Haftar, the Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), and Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj of the Government of National Accord (GNA).

According to the released conclusions, the Berlin conference was aimed at unifying international support for a political solution for Libya instead of a military solution. The final document called for the fight against terrorism and illegal migration and the enforcement of the arms embargo with sanctions mentioned against those who break the embargo. A permanent ceasefire and a mechanism to monitor it were also discussed. The Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration of the Militias is to be complemented by the monopoly of the state on the legitimate use of force. The document also called for the equal distribution of wealth to remove grievances and the respect of Libya’s sovereign institutions, such as the Central Bank of Libya, the Libyan Investment Authority and the National Oil Corporation and for the violators of international human rights laws to be held accountable.

“We have sent a strong signal that we are committed to a solution,” Guterres declared.

However, we have already seen most of these statements. The new document mirrors the 2015 Skhirat Libyan Political Agreement which failed to achieve the main goal – peace in Libya. With no real new solutions or mechanisms to solve the escalating Libyan crisis proposed, the Berlin conference has offered no feasible ways to restore stability and peace to Libya. No wonder, both Libyan leaders had left the meeting even before the conference was over as the interests of the conflict sides had not been taken into account.

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