World leaders at a Berlin summit on Sunday committed to ending all foreign meddling in Libya’s civil war and to uphold a weapons embargo as part of a broader plan to end the long-running conflict.
The presidents of Russia, Turkey and France were among global leaders signing up to the agreement to stop interfering in the war — be it through weapons, troops or financing.
However, the talks failed to deliver “serious dialogue” between the warring parties — Libyan National Army Commander Khalifa Haftar and the head of Tripoli’s UN-recognized government, Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj — or to get both sides to sign up to a permanent truce.
“Ensuring that a ceasefire is immediately respected is simply not easy to guarantee, but I hope that through today’s conference, we have a chance the truce will hold further,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the summit’s host.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that there are “still some questions on how well and effectively” the commitments can be monitored.
Pompeo said he is “optimistic that there will be less violence and ... an opportunity to begin the conversation that [UN Ambassador to Libya] Ghassan Salame has been trying to get going between the Libyan parties.”
Libya has been torn by fighting between rival armed factions since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising killed former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.
Most recently, al-Sarraj’s troops in Tripoli have been under attack since April from Haftar’s forces.
Clashes have killed more than 280 civilians and 2,000 fighters, while displacing tens of thousands, until a fragile ceasefire backed by Ankara and Moscow was put in place on Jan. 12.
Although al-Sarraj’s government is recognized by the UN, powerful players have broken away to stand behind Haftar — turning a domestic conflict into what some have described as a proxy war in which international powers jostle to secure their own interests.
Alarm grew in recent weeks after Turkey ordered in troops to shore up al-Sarraj’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the world powers had made “a strong commitment to stop” the conflict escalating into a regional confrontation.
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov pointed to some positive takeaways from the talks, but said the summit failed to launch necessary talks between al-Sarraj and Haftar.
“It is clear that we have not yet succeeded in launching a serious and stable dialogue between them,” Lavrov told reporters after the conference, where Haftar and al-Sarraj did not meet face to face.
Nevertheless, the Libyan parties had taken “a small step” forward, Lavrov said.
Pro-Haftar forces on the eve of the talks blocked oil exports at Libya’s key ports, crippling the country’s main income source in protest at Turkey’s decision to send troops to shore up al-Sarraj.
In afternoon trade on Asian markets yesterday, oil prices rose more than 1 percent on supply concerns following the move.
The flaring oil crisis underlined the devastating impact of foreign influence in the conflict, in which al-Sarraj’s GNA is backed by Turkey and Qatar, while Haftar has the support of Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
Ahead of the talks, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Haftar needed to drop his “hostile attitude” if Libya is to have any chance at winning peace.
Russia has been accused of sending mercenaries to help Haftar — allegations it denies.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year