It has only been a week since Berlin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted a summit on the war in Libya. The summit not only aimed to facilitate a ceasefire and arms embargo but also to create a foundation on which a long-lasting peace in the war-torn state could become a reality. All participating actors agreed on the deescalation plan.
What Was Agreed In Berlin?
A week ago, 16 countries and international organizations had agreed to uphold and control the arms embargo for the North African country in order to deescalate the crisis. They also agreed that there should be “no further support” for the conflicting Libyan parties in order to maintain stability and establish a path for a maintainable peace agreement that would eventually end Libya’s disastrous civil war.
What About The Agreement?
Seven days later the fighting in Libya has continued ferociously in an apparent violation of the Berlin ceasefire agreement. Moreover, the arms embargo has also been violated according to the UN. In fact, for the past ten days, several planes have reportedly landed at airports in western and eastern Libya delivering weapons, armored vehicles, fighters, and military advisers into the country.
In its statement on Saturday, the United Nations’ Support Mission For Libya (UNSMIL) did not name any responsible persons and thus left open who exactly violated the embargo. However, the message stated that “several participants in the Berlin conference” were involved in the “ongoing transport of foreign fighters, weapons, ammunition” and other military equipment.
UN Peace Meeting On Libya Upcoming
The United Nations will soon convene a meeting of the conflicting parties to implement a ceasefire. The EU is advising on how to monitor the arms embargo that has been in place since 2011. Moreover, the UN Security Council is working on a resolution to support the Berlin resolutions.
Since the overthrow and killing of long-time Libyan ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011 a civil war with confusing power relations has been raging in Libya. It is a conflict in which multiple third-party countries have conflicting interests. The stabilization of the country is particularly vital for Germany, as Libya remains the starting point for many refugees who seek to make their way across the Mediterranean to Europe. Besides, Libya threatens to become a refuge for Islamist terrorists, and the country is a hub for arms flows in the Sahel, where German soldiers are also stationed and combating militant extremists.
A ceasefire had previously come into force in the Tripoli area on January 12. Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar had ordered an offensive against the capital, in which the government of Prime Minister Fajis al-Sarraj is based. Both sides have accused each other of violations of the ceasefire on several occasions since then.
This Sunday, the Sarraj government spoke of “repeated violations” by Haftar’s troops, which made the agreement “senseless.” Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) representatives, on the other hand, said that six LNA soldiers had been killed in battles with the Sarraj government.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan—who backs al-Sarraj and his Government of National Accord (GNA)—accused Haftar of restarting fighting in violation of the ceasefire. “He continues to attack with all means, but he will not succeed here,” Erdogan said before a trip to Algeria. “You have to see clearly what Haftar’s ‘identity’ is. He is a man who previously cheated on his superiors,” said Erdogan. “You cannot expect mercy and understanding from someone like him during the armistice.”
Erdogan also said that the international community had failed in Libya. Erdogan himself insisted during his remarks that his country had only sent military advisers and instructors to Libya and no combat units. However, according to the Syrian Human Rights Observatory, several hundred pro-Turkish rebels have arrived from Syria. Meanwhile, Haftar is said to be supported by hundreds of Russian mercenaries.
Planned Mid-February Meeting Unlikely
Meanwhile, all participants of the Berlin summit agreed to meet again in mid-February. Under the current circumstances it seems unlikely. Germany, the initiator and host of the summit, has yet to comment on the UN report. However, due to the urgency it can be expected that Berlin will intensify its diplomatic efforts further. Nonetheless, Libya has turned into yet another global example of the limits of diplomacy.