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Berlin Conference on Libya: Deal to Respect Arms Embargo, Push Ceasefire

Berlin Conference on Libya: Deal to Respect Arms Embargo, Push Ceasefire

Sunday, 19 January, 2020 - 19:45
Leaders pose for a family photo during the Libya summit in Berlin, Germany, January 19, 2020. Reuters
Asharq Al-Awsat

Countries with interests in Libya's war agreed Sunday to respect the arms embargo, hold off military support to the warring parties and push them to reach a full ceasefire, German and UN leaders said.

The agreement came after about four hours of talks at the chancellery in Berlin. German Chancellor Anglea Merkel hosted leaders of 11 countries involved in the conflict, with Libya's two main rival leaders - Libyan National Army chief Khalifa Haftar and the head of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj - also in the German capital but not at the main conference table.

Organizers knew that “we had to succeed in getting all the parties that connected in any way with the Libya conflict to speak with one voice ... because then the parties inside Libya will also understand that there is only a non-military way to a solution,” Merkel said. “We achieved this result here.”

Among those who attended were Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The participants agreed that “we want to respect the arms embargo, and that the arms embargo will be more strongly controlled than was the case in the past,” said Merkel. She added that the results of the conference should be endorsed by the UN Security Council.

Haftar and Sarraj named members of a military committee that will represent them at talks on a more permanent ceasefire, Merkel said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the committee would be convened “in Geneva in the coming days.”

Merkel said the summit participants agreed that they will give no further support to the warring parties in Libya ahead of the committee's meeting and “cease operations as long as the ceasefire holds.”

Guterres said the Berlin conference had succeeded in fending off “the risk of a true regional escalation.”

“That risk was averted in Berlin - provided, of course, that it is possible to maintain the truce and then to move into a ceasefire,” he stated

Guterres underlined the urgency of that next step, saying all the participants committed to “put pressure on the parties for a full ceasefire to be reached.”

“We cannot monitor something that doesn't exist," Guterres said. "We have a truce.”

Merkel added that the participants would continue to hold regular further meetings to ensure the process continues “so the people in Libya get their right to a peaceful life.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that “we know that today's signatures aren't enough.”

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