At the Libya conference in Berlin, the participating heads of state and government agreed on an international mechanism for resolving the conflict. In this way, the repeatedly violated UN arms embargo is to be adhered to in the future. The participants also promised an end to the military support of the warring parties.
"We can say that everyone agrees that we want to respect the arms embargo," said the host, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). There is also agreement that there is no military solution to the conflict and that such attempts would only increase people's suffering. Merkel spoke of a new political start and an impulse to support the efforts of the United Nations in the civil war country.
According to the agreement, the arms embargo should be better controlled in the future, according to a statement by 16 states and organizations. A comprehensive demobilization and disarmament of the militias is demanded. Violations of an armistice are to be sanctioned. There should be a first meeting soon, which should lay the foundation for a firm ceasefire, said Merkel. According to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a body in Libya monitor the ceasefire in the future.
Demand for fair distribution of oil revenues
The paper formulates the goal of strengthening central institutions and calls for a return to the political process led by the United Nations. A reform of the security sector must restore the state's monopoly on violence, it says.
Respect for international humanitarian law and human rights is required. Anyone responsible for attacks on civilians and inhabited areas, kidnappings, extrajudicial killings and sexual violence, torture and people smuggling must be held responsible. The conference also calls for a transparent and fair distribution of oil revenues in the country.
Europeans closer together than two years ago
UN Secretary General António Guterres thanked Angela Merkel for her efforts. Future reforms in Libya must be accepted by both parties to the civil war, he said. Europe must play an important role at the diplomatic level, as well as in the reconstruction of the country.
According to the Chancellor, the Europeans have come much closer. Europe also contributed to making this success of the Libya conference possible, said Merkel. She referred among others to the French President Emmanuel Macron, Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the EU's External Relations Representative Josep Borrell. The Europeans had partly supported different parties in the civil war. She now feels that the Europeans are closer to each other than two years ago.
No "serious" dialogue between Libyan parties to the conflict
Heiko Maas, however, said that the signatures were not sufficient. The work has just started. Four negotiating commissions should be formed to deal with the various aspects of the crisis, including military and economic issues. States not invited to Berlin should be given the opportunity to participate in it.
According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the Libya conference did not initiate a "serious" dialogue between the Libyan parties to the conflict. "It is obvious that we have not yet managed to start a serious and lasting dialogue between them," he said. The parties to the conflict had at least taken "a small step" forward, so the conference was "very useful".
Merkel had received representatives of the states that have an impact on the Libya conflict. Participants included Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Pompeo. The Libyan Prime Minister Fajis al-Sarradsch and his competitor General Chalifa Haftar also came. Representatives from the UK, France, China, the United Arab Emirates, the Republic of the Congo, Italy, Egypt and Algeria also attended the meeting.
A civil war broke out in Libya in 2011 after the overthrow and killing of long-term ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi. The government of Prime Minister Fajis Al-Sarradsch is internationally recognized, but only holds small areas around the capital Tripoli in the west of the country. General Chalifa Haftar is fighting Al-Sarradsch with his allies who rule large parts of the oil-rich country and who are also supported from abroad.
The current government of Prime Minister Al-Sarradsch started its work in Tripoli in 2016. It emerged as a result of an agreement on the sharing of power in Libya under UN mediation. With his limited power in the country, Al-Sarradsch was unable to overcome political differences between the two governments as hoped. Parliament in the east did not recognize the Sarraj government and supported the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) by the influential General Haftar.