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News > World

Libya Summit Agree to Respect Arms Embargo, Push Ceasefire

  • General view of the Libya summit in Berlin, Germany, Jan. 19, 2020.

    General view of the Libya summit in Berlin, Germany, Jan. 19, 2020. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 January 2020

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said, “today’s signatures aren’t enough.”

An agreement to respect the disregarded international arms embargo on Libya was the result of Sunday’s Germany-led peace summit, attended by countries with interests in the conflict and the two warring sides.

Turkey to Officially Send Troops to Libya: Erdogan

"We agreed on a comprehensive plan forward," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, adding that they all “agree that we should respect the arms embargo and that the arms embargo should be controlled more strongly than it has been in the past."

Among those present were United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Leaders from the European Union, the African Union, and the Arab League also attended. As well as envoys from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Algeria, China and the Republic of Congo.

However, as German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said it “today’s signatures aren’t enough.”

The warring sides earlier this month agreed to the ceasefire, yet the formalized agreement was never signed as Libya’s General Kalifa Haftar, who leads the Libyan National Army (LNA), left talks in Moscow on Jan. 12. 

It is, for this reason during the summit - the first of its kind since 2018-, Libya’s two main rival leaders U.N.-recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and Haftar appointed members of a military committee that will represent them at talks on a more permanent ceasefire

Guterres said that the committee would be convened “in Geneva in the coming days,” underlining the urgency of that next step, saying all the participants committed to “put pressure on the parties for a full ceasefire to be reached.”


Libya: How Did We Get Here?

Currently, the rival sides have agreed on a very fragile truce, as Haftar’s forces are on their last push to take the capital, Tripoli, and thus the whole control of the North African nation. On Sunday, the major southwestern fields of El Sharara and El Feel were closed after forces loyal to Haftar shut a pipeline.

"Long experience makes us doubt the intentions, seriousness, and commitment of the other side, whom everyone knows seeks powers at any price," al-Sarraj told the German press agency DPA.

The temporary truce was proposed on Jan. 8 by Russia’s Putin and his Turkish counterpart, who back opposing sides in the Libyan conflict. 

The LNA, which is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France and Russia, has been fighting off a nine-month-long offensive over Tripoli which is the last stronghold of al Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA), which is backed by Turkey, Qatar, and Italy.

The U.N. recognized government recently asked Turkey for military aid, and after validation by the parliament, Ankara started sending military personnel on Jan. 5; a move that Russia rejected.

Last month, the GNA warned Libya's neighbors of severe consequences if Haftar was to take Tripoli.

"If Tripoli falls, Tunis and Algiers will fall in turn. This is an attempt to sow chaos in the region and exercise control over North Africa," Fathi Bashagha, the GNA's interior minister, said.

According to the U.N., more than 280 civilians and about 2,000 fighters have been killed and 146,000 Libyans displaced since Haftar launched his assault to seize the capital.

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