Key Players In Libya Conflict Seek Cease-fire In Talks
World powers and other countries with interests in Libya's longrunning civil war sat down Monday for virtual ministerial talks in a meeting cohosted by the United Nations and Germany aimed at promoting a ceasefire between the North African country's rival governments.
- Associated Press
- Last Updated: October 5, 2020, 21:39 IST
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BERLIN: The United Nations chief on Monday urged world powers and other countries with interests in Libyas long-running civil war to keep working toward a lasting cease-fire between its rival governments, warning that the countrys very future “is at stake.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres implored participants at a virtual ministerial meeting co-hosted by the United Nations and Germany to encourage and support peace efforts not only in words but in actions, including full and immediate implementation of a widely violated U.N. arms embargo.
The violations of the embargo are a scandal and call into question the basic commitment to peace of all involved, he said in remarks to the closed meeting, released by the U.N. Foreign deliveries of weapons and other military support must stop immediately.
Libya was plunged into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed. The country has since split between rival east- and west-based administrations, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments.
Military commander Khalifa Hifter and his self-styled army launched an offensive in April 2019, trying to capture Tripoli. But his campaign collapsed in June when the Tripoli-allied militias, with Turkish support, gained the upper hand, driving his forces from the outskirts of Tripoli and other western towns.
Hifter is supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia. Turkey, a bitter rival of Egypt and the U.A.E. in a broader regional struggle over political Islam, is the main patron of the Tripoli forces, which are also backed by the wealthy Gulf state of Qatar.
Germany has been trying to act as an intermediary in the conflict, and in January held a summit in Berlin where participants from both sides agreed to respect an arms embargo and push Libyas warring parties to reach a full cease-fire. That agreement has been repeatedly violated.
Guterres noted that the Berlin commitments also include restoring due process in Libya and preventing arbitrary detention in the north African nation, stressing that this, too, is essential.
We must also see the immediate, permanent and unconditional lifting of the blockade on the countrys oil production and exports, which has had a crippling impact on the economy, he said.
Guterres said the U.N. mission in Libya is preparing for a series of meetings and consultations that would facilitate the resumption of inclusive intra-Libyan political talks Libyan-led and Libyan-owned.
Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said the situation in Libya is still fragile and complex. He called for participants to unite efforts behind the United Nations to enable it …. to organize the expected Libyan dialogue forum.
The virtual meeting came amid international pressure on both sides of war and their foreign backers to avert an attack on the strategic city of Sirte, after a year-long assault on the capital, Tripoli by forces of military commander Khalifa Hifter 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 rounds of 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 countrys divided territory. They also
Hifter also allowed the reopening of vital oil facilities last month allowing production for the first time since powerful tribes loyal to him closed oil fields and terminals in January to chock off their rivals amid the Tripoli attack.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met in August in Tripoli with officials in the U.N.-recognized administration, and then traveled to the U.A.E. for talks with leaders there to push them to use the countrys influence with Hifter.
Stephanie Williams, the top U.N. official for Libya, said Friday that the meeting comes at a crucial moment. She pointed to some encouraging developments in Libya including talks on security, the long-term agreements on transition, and progress on the question of oil exports.
Germanys deputy U.N. ambassador, Gnter Sautter, said Berlin hopes participants in the meeting co-chaired by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Maas will renew their commitments to the Berlin road map and its implementation.
We hope that they will call on the parties to accelerate efforts to achieve a cease-fire, Sautter said. We hope that continuing blatant violations of the arms embargo will end.
Participants were to include representatives from both sides of the conflict in Libya, those directly supporting them, as well as the United States, Britain, France, China and others, the dpa news agency reported.
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