Middle East/North Africa

Countries reach agreement in Berlin on Libya cease-fire push, arms embargo

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World leaders reached an agreement to push for a cease-fire in Libya and to more strictly enforce the arms embargo on the warring parties in the country, officials announced Sunday.

Leaders from 11 countries involved in the Libya dispute discussed for four hours in Berlin ways to alleviate the conflict, The Associated Press reported. The leaders of the two feuding sides in Libya were in the German capital but did not meet face-to-face or join the negotiations.

“We had to succeed in getting all the parties that 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,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, according to the AP. “We achieved this result here.”

Libya has been in conflict since its leader was killed in 2011. Now two opposing governments are fighting for control and are supported by different countries. The United Nations recognizes the government headed by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj in Tripoli, while Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates back the eastern government run by Gen. Khalifa Haftar.

The world leaders decided to “respect the arms embargo, and that the arms embargo will be more strongly controlled than was the case in the past,” Merkel said, according to the AP. They also agreed to give no more support to the warring sides and “cease operations as long as the cease-fire holds.” 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined the discussions in Germany.

Turkey and Russia reached an agreement for a cease-fire earlier this month, but it has been broken several times already. 

Sarraj and Haftar both named five military representatives for committee talks on a permanent cease-fire, which U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres says will be in Geneva “in the coming days,” according to the news wire.  

The agreement did not cite specific punishments for those who violate the cease-fire and gave no instructions for withdrawing current military support. But Guterres said the countries are committed to “put pressure on the parties for a full cease-fire to be reached.”

Pompeo called the negotiations “productive dialogue” in a tweet following the meeting.

“We stand with the Libyan people as they work to build a secure future, free from violence and foreign interference,” he tweeted.

Tags arms embargo cease-fire Emmanuel Macron libya Mike Pompeo Vladimir Putin
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