Shortly before the planned libya conference in berlin, the UN special envoy for the war-torn country, ghassan salame, called for a withdrawal of foreign fighters.
"We have presented a security plan that provides for the withdrawal of all foreign fighters, regardless of nationality," salame said in an interview published by the arabic newspaper "al-sharq al-awsat". He wants an end to foreign interference in the conflict. Meanwhile, supporters of renegade general chalifa haftar blockaded key ports for oil production in the country, prompting international criticism.
German chancellor angela merkel (CDU) will receive representatives of states with influence over the libya conflict on sunday afternoon. Among others, turkish president recep tayyip erdogan, russian leader vladimir putin and u.S. Eagle secretary mike pompeo are expected to attend. In libya, prime minister fajis al-saraj and haftar are competing for power – according to aubenminister heiko maas, they will be present in berlin.
A civil war has been raging in the north african country for years, and more and more foreign actors and fighters have become involved. The largely impotent government in tripoli under al-saraj is being pressured by haftar’s forces, whose main power base is in eastern libya. Haftar and allies control large parts of the country, also thanks to foreign aid; the government controls only small areas around the capital tripoli. Both sides have different international supporters.
Europe has a considerable interest in stability on the south coast of the mediterranean – also because libya is traditionally an important oil supplier to the european union. The country has also become one of the most important transit countries for refugees on their way north due to the war, the arbitrary rule and the weakness of the state institutions in recent years.
German chancellor merkel and mohammed bin said al nahjan, crown prince of abu dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the united arab emirates’ armed forces, called on the parties to the conflict to agree on a permanent cease-fire ahead of the conference. According to the spokesman of the federal government, steffen seibert, both agreed at a meeting in berlin that the libyan conflict cannot be solved by military means. Peace and stability in the country had to be achieved through negotiations. The meeting took place against the background that the crown prince will not be able to attend the libya conference. He is represented by the emirate’s minister of foreign affairs.
Erdogan, who is propping up the internationally recognized government of al-saraj, warned that "europe will face a series of new problems and threats if libya’s legitimate government falls," he wrote in an article for the magazine "politico". "Terrorist organizations like the islamic state (IS) and al-kaida, which have suffered a military defeat in syria and iraq, will find fertile ground and get back on their feet," erdogan wrote. "Should the conflict rage on, violence and instability will also fuel unregulated migration toward europe."
He offered his country as a reliable partner with whom europe could achieve the goal of ending violence in the country. "Considering that europe is less interested in providing military support to libya, it is obvious to cooperate with turkey, which has already pledged military assistance."
According to a UN report sent by secretary general antonio guterres to the members of the UN security council and dated 15. Dated january 1, the meeting on sunday is expected to achieve a permanent cease-fire and consistent implementation of the arms embargo on the warring country. According to the report, the draft final communique is divided into six areas, which also include reforms in the economic and security sectors. In addition, the representatives of more than ten countries are to commit themselves to a return to a political process in libya and to compliance with humanitarian law and human rights.
Diplomatic circles in paris reported that france’s head of state emmanuel macron wants to play an active role in the conference and meet merkel before the talks even begin. Macron committed to making the conference a success.
The guest list of the meeting has been causing unrest for days. First libya’s neighbor tunisia complained it was not invited, then greece. The german government did not want to draw the circle of participants too broadly and limited its invitations to countries that have an influence on the conflict from outside, for example by supplying weapons or sending soldiers.
With a view to a european union military mission in libya brought into play by european commissioner for foreign affairs josep borrell, defense minister annegret kramp-karrenbauer said there must first be a sustainable ceasefire. If this can be agreed and secured internationally, "the question will naturally also arise as to how this is to be done, who is to provide security," said the CDU leader at the end of a two-day meeting of the party leadership in hamburg. That germany then "has to deal with the question, what can we contribute to this, that is perfectly normal".
Aubenminister maas told the "bild am sonntag" newspaper, referring to borrell: "my impression from the speeches of the last few weeks so far is not that the libyans are primarily concerned with an international troop presence"."Nevertheless, germany will continue to support the political process within libya after the conference.