Berlin II Conference: Agreement on necessity of urgent political solution in Libya

Joint press conference after the Berlin summit ended. [Photo: Social]
The UN Secretary General on Monday urged world powers and others with interests in Libya’s long-running civil war to keep working toward a lasting cease-fire between its rival governments, warning that the country’s very future “is at stake.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres implored those at a virtual ministerial meeting co-hosted by the U.N. and Germany to support peace efforts “not only in words but in actions,” including immediately backing a widely violated U.N. arms embargo against Libya.

The violations of the embargo are a scandal and call into question the basic commitment to peace of all involved,” he told the closed meeting.

“Foreign deliveries of weapons and other military support must stop immediately.”

Germany, which has been trying to act as an intermediary, said the virtual meeting was a chance to review what’s been achieved since Berlin hosted a summit on Libya in January at which participants from both sides agreed to respect an arms embargo and push Libya’s warring parties to reach a full cease-fire. That agreement has been repeatedly violated.

We have always said that stabilizing Libya is no sprint, but a marathon,” said Maas. “But after a phase where things even seemed to be moving backwards in recent months it’s good to be able to say we’ve managed another kilometer today.”

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said the situation in Libya is still “fragile and complex.”

The virtual meeting came amid international pressure on both sides to avert an attack on the strategic city of Sirte, after a year-long assault on Tripoli by Hifter’s forces collapsed this summer.

Guterres said he has been “encouraged” in recent weeks and months “to witness a lull in the fighting,” with a stalemate around Sirte and direct confrontation between both sides “limited.”

Recent talks in Egypt and Morocco resulted in positive steps by the warring sides, that included a preliminary deal that aims to guide the country toward elections within 18 months and demilitarize the contested city of Sirte. They also agreed to exchange prisoners and open up air and land transit across the country’s divided territory.

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