In addition to taking the helm of the EU Council Presidency in the past few weeks, Germany is also now chairing the UN Security Council. Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas thus seeks to utilize Germany’s current position to find a solution to Libya’s never-ending conflict.
Finding a Solution in Libya
The frustration with Libya is almost omnipresent at the United Nations, particularly UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appears increasingly appalled by the lack of progress and continuing humanitarian tragedy the civil war is causing. Accordingly, Guterres recently reminded everyone involved that time remains of the essence in the conflict.
By now, the conflict in Libya has entered a new phase: foreign interference through arms exports and mercenaries has never been bigger. The latter had been one of the reasons the Berlin Conference was held in January. However, the list of achievements, so far, is almost non-existent.
Germany Steps Up
Now it is Germany again that puts the troubled situation in the war-torn civil country at the top of its agenda. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas summed up the travesty of the current situation in a recent statement. While doctors and patients on all continents were fighting COVID-19, hospitals in Libya were being bombed. And while the whole world was closing the borders and going into a lockdown due to the pandemic, ships, planes, and trucks with weapons and mercenaries were being brought to Libyan cities, Maas said. It was thus now once and for all time to stop this “cynical absurdity.”
Under Germany’s chairmanship of the UN Security Council, Maas reassembled all Libya conflict actors together once again during a video conference. Berlin’s critical demand was that foreign interference, which remains the main problem in the conflict to this day, needed to stop immediately.
Time for Truth
However, the latter is only conceivable if all actors adhere to the agreement and stop the blatant lies. Turkey, which supports al-Sarraj, and on the other hand, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia, who support General Khalifa Haftar, violate the agreement ad nauseam while publicly accusing the other side of wrongdoings. Moscow’s UN ambassador Wassily Nebensja remains particularly faithful to the Russian strategy of constant denial of any Russian interference. Instead, it claims that the Libyan ruler Gaddafi’s military overthrow in 2011 was to blame for the chaos in the civil war country.
Since Gaddafi’s fall, militias have taken control, and the country has broken down into different strongholds with the Fayez al-Sarraj government, recognized by the United Nations, and Haftar fighting for power.
Libyan Civilians are Suffering the Most
However, the victims are and remain the civilians, thus making progress crucial for Europe. Just due to the most recent fighting, 30,000 people have fled Libya, adding to the already more than 400,000 people on the run. Between April and June alone, over 100 civilians were killed and 250 injured, increasing by 172 percent. What makes the situation even worse is that the WHO has registered at least 21 attacks against medical facilities, ambulances, and staff since the beginning of the year.
All the more passionate was Foreign Minister Maas’ speech in which he once again reminded the parties to the conflict of the Berlin conference agreements: compliance with the arms embargo, a sustainable ceasefire and a peace process led by the United Nations.
The Reality of the Situation
It was only five months ago that the Security Council supported the Berlin agreements with a resolution. There is also a resolution for a global ceasefire during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was passed a week ago. The fact that no progress has been made so far shows once again how difficult the situation in Libya remains. Maas’ words can and will not change this geopolitical atrocity. As much as the west’s intentions may be noble, they also remain naive in light of non-existent enforcement mechanisms and actors such as Putin and Erdogan, who have been fueling the civil war for their strategic gains without any regard for human life.