Countries involved in Libya to respect arms embargo: Merkel says

Daniel Fowler
January 20, 2020

During Sunday's summit, Libya's rival camps and their global backers agreed that an arms embargo must be respected and strengthened to reach a lasting ceasefire on the ground.

World leaders including the presidents of Turkey, Russia and France opened talks on Sunday at a summit hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel aimed at ending the war in Libya.

But he warned that "proxy conflicts" only come to an end when the external powers decide they should.

Libya has been in political and social turmoil since 2011 when longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi was toppled and killed.

The head of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya has called for the deployment of an worldwide force in case renegade General Khalifa Haftar resumes hostilities.

The LNA has launched attacks on the country's internationally-recognised government since April 2019 in the Libyan capital Tripoli - with the backing of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Russian mercenaries and African troops.

A truce sponsored by Turkey and Russian Federation was imposed a week ago but sporadic fighting has continued. She added that the results of the conference should be endorsed by the U.N. Security Council.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the committee would be convened "in Geneva in the coming days". That "is a question for the real cease-fire", Merkel said.

A draft of the final communique of the Berlin summit on Sunday recognized Tripoli-based state oil company NOC as the sole legitimate entity allowed to sell Libyan oil, which will be discussed at the summit.

"That risk was averted in Berlin - provided, of course, that it is possible to maintain the truce and then to move into a cease-fire", he said.

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Guterres underlined the urgency of that next step, saying all the participants committed to "put pressure on the parties for a full cease-fire to be reached".

"It would be a mission for monitoring the embargo, and nothing else", he said.

"I can not stress enough the summit's conclusion that there is no military solution to the conflict in Libya", Guterres told reporters in Berlin.

If all goes to plan, the Berlin participants will hold an evening press conference.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas traveled to Benghazi, Libya on Thursday to meet with Haftar to persuade him to support the fragile ceasefire.

"We know that the work has only just started", Maas said. Only offshore fields and one smaller facility remain operational, the corporation said.

The agreements at the Berlin conference are largely contingent on the two sides wanting to implement a ceasefire rather than seek military victory.

"This is all very good talk and optics, but there is still no mechanism for enforcement to actively stop a country from violating the arms embargo", said Anas Gamati, the founder of a Tripoli-based think tank, the Sadeq Institute.

However, on Friday, Khalifa Haftar, whose self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) controls large swathes of the country's east, ordered his forces to shut down oil ports in the region.

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