World leaders have pledged not to interfere in Libya’s ongoing civil conflict, and have vowed to uphold a UN arms embargo.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres after a summit in Berlin said that major powers are “fully committed” to a peaceful resolution in Libya. The meeting has in attendance Mrs. Angela Merkel, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Libya has been wracked by conflict since the 2011 uprising which ousted long-time strongman Muammar Gaddafi. The conflict pits, powerful General Khalifa Haftar against the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the two sides were briefed and consulted by the other parties. As the two Libyan parties were also present but did not meet each other.
Before the meeting, Boris Johnson said the aim of the conference was to “stop this jockeying for position”. “The people of Libya have suffered enough,” he said as he arrived on Sunday. “It’s time for the country to move forward.”
Mr. Putin said on Sunday before meeting the Turkish president on the sidelines of the conference. “We don’t lose hope that dialogue will continue and the conflict will be solved,”
Mr. Erdogan, who has recently sent troops in support of the Tripoli government, said before the meeting that Gen Haftar’s “aggressive stance must come to an end”. On Saturday, forces loyal to Gen Haftar blocked oil exports from major ports – a blow to the country’s main source of income.
And reports on Sunday suggest the general’s forces had shut down pipelines in Libya as the conference got under way.
Gen Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) controls much of eastern Libya, and last April he launched an offensive against the country’s rival Government of National Accord (GNA) in the capital, Tripoli. His forces have so far been unable to take the city, but earlier this month the LNA captured the country’s third-biggest city, Sirte.
According to the UN, the fighting has killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands more from their homes.
A truce was announced earlier this month between Gen Haftar and the GNA, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj.
But both sides blame each other for reported breaches of the agreement, and attempts to broker a lasting ceasefire broke down last week at a summit in Moscow.
The role of foreign states in the conflict has come into focus in recent months, with Turkey passing a controversial law to deploy troops to help GNA forces in Tripoli.
Gen Haftar’s LNA has the backing of Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan.
On Saturday, UN Special Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salamé called on international powers to stop supporting local proxy groups with mercenaries, arms, financing, and direct military support.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that such actions created “a vicious circle where their proxies call for intervention in their fight, and their own ambitions bring more divisions”.
Mr Salamé said the only political solution to the conflict was best for all parties involved because Libya – with its vast geography, strong local identities, heavily armed population and weakened government infrastructure – was a difficult country for one group to control.