Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) set off for talks with Libyan General Chalifa Haftar in the North African state of crisis. On behalf of the EU foreign ministers, he wants to be in Benghazi ahead of the Libya conference on Sunday in Berlin achieve a permanent ceasefire. Last week, he had already spoken to Fajes al-Sarradsch, the head of the internationally recognized unitary government in Tripoli.
According to Maas, the Berlin process has long been the best chance to start peace talks for Libya to enable. "For months we have been negotiating how we can stop the deadly flow of weapons and fighters from abroad. To find an agreement, we brought all the relevant international players to the table for Sunday." It is still unclear whether Haftar will participate in the conference on Sunday under the aegis of the UN.
The planned conversation with Haftar was conducted by Maas on behalf of the EU foreign ministers, it said from the Federal Foreign Office. "Our message is clear: no one can win this conflict militarily," said Maas. He hoped that the parties would take this opportunity to take the country's future back into Libyan hands. This now requires a readiness for a real ceasefire; furthermore, the two civil war parties should not refuse the proposed dialogue formats. "This is not just the expectation of the EU foreign ministers, it is primarily in the interest of the Libyan population," said Maas.
Haftar controls large parts of Libya
Fighting in Libya has not stopped since the overthrow of long-term ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011. General Haftar is fighting with allies against the international largely
recognized government in Tripoli under Prime Minister Al-Sarradsch, which dominates only small areas. The
Turkey is also providing military support to the government of Al-Sarraj.
Russia is cooperating with General Haftar, like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He's got that now
Control of large parts of the country gained.
There is currently a ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey, but negotiations on a lasting ceasefire in Moscow failed on Tuesday.
Europe has a considerable interest in stability on the south coast of the Mediterranean – also because Libya has traditionally been an important oil supplier to the European Union. The country has also developed into one of the most important transit countries for refugees heading north due to the events of the war in recent years. The less state control in Libya, the more routes can open there.