World powers and other countries with interests in Libya’s long-running civil war agreed Sunday to respect a much-violated arms embargo, hold off on military support to the warring parties and push them to reach a full ceasefire, German and UN leaders said, The Associated Press reported.
The agreement came after about four hours of talks at the chancellery in Berlin. German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted leaders of 11 countries, with Libya’s two main rival leaders also in the German capital but not at the main conference table.
Organizers knew that “we had to succeed in getting all the parties that are connected in any way with the Libya conflict to speak with one voice … because then the parties inside Libya will also understand that there is only a non-military way to a solution,” Merkel said. “We achieved this result here.”
Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s forces have been on the offensive since April, laying siege to Tripoli in an effort to capture the capital. Haftar’s forces are backed by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, while the Tripoli government has turned to Turkey for troops and weapons.
A truce brokered earlier this month by Russia and Turkey marked the first break in fighting in months, but there have been repeated violations.
Among those who attended Sunday were Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The participants agreed that “we want to respect the arms embargo, and that the arms embargo will be more strongly controlled than was the case in the past,” Merkel said. She added that the results of the conference should be endorsed by the UN Security Council.
Libya’s two main rival leaders, Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and Haftar, each named five members of a military committee that will represent them at talks on a more permanent ceasefire, Merkel said.
Merkel said the summit participants agreed that they will give no further support to the warring parties in Libya ahead of the committee’s meeting and “cease operations as long as the ceasefire holds.”
There was no explicit commitment, however, to withdrawing existing military support. That “is a question for the real ceasefire,” Merkel said.
She said the conference hadn’t discussed specific sanctions for violating the arms embargo.
The summit’s final statement said the participants “call on all actors to refrain from any activities exacerbating the conflict or inconsistent with the (U.N.) arms embargo or the ceasefire, including the financing of military capabilities or the recruitment of mercenaries.”
Al-Sarraj and Haftar did not meet face-to-face in Berlin.
“We spoke with them individually because the differences between them are so great that they aren’t speaking with each other at the moment,” Merkel said.
The two men were not direct participants in the conference but were in Berlin and kept apprised of developments, she added.