Ceasefire, Embargo on Arms Imports Agreed at Berlin Conference on Libya

French President Emmanuel Macron, center left, speaks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center right, during a group photo at a conference on Libya at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN – A ceasefire, an embargo on arms imports and military support for the opposing sides and continuing the political process are the key points of the agreement reached on Sunday during the three-hour Berlin Conference on Libya.

Both United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and German Chancellor Angela Merkel underlined that it was just the beginning of a very difficult road, highlighting the agreement of all 16 participants that “there can be no military solution”.

Participants

Participants included the presidents of Russia, Turkey, Egypt, US State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo, and high-level officials from Great Britain, China, the UAE, Italy, Algeria, the UN, the EU, the African Union and the Arab League.

Both Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al Saraj and Commander Khalifa Haftar were also expected to attend. According to a report by Der Spiegel, they are expected to participate only after all other participants have agreed to a joint statements. Their presence in Berlin, the magazine said, was at Russia’s insistence.

According to a draft statement, the Berlin conference on Libya would focus on a call for a ceasefire by all sides against petroleum facilities, and recognize the Tripoli-based state oil company NOC as the only legal entity allowed to sell Libyan oil.

Greece

Greece had formally requested an invitation to attend the conference since the signing by Turkey and the Tripoli government of two internationally criticized memoranda on maritime zones, but the Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry said Germany had turned the request down.

Asked to comment on Greece’s absence and whether it came after Turkish pressure by Bild am Sontag newspaper, German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas said that the European Union is tied to the process, and expressed the confidence that as all EU member states are interested in peace in Libya, they are expected to also support the conference.

Referring to the Turkey-Libya memoranda, he also told the newspaper “the natural gas deposit will play no role in our conference,” which is devoted to finding a solution for Libya, and called on everyone to “forget thinking about their interests in the natural gas deposit as long as the civil war is going on.”