Germany sends its foreign minister to Libya to save this Sunday's Berlin conference
German diplomatic offensive to save the Berlin conference on Libya this Sunday. The Chancellor Merkel they have sent the foreign minister Heiko Mass to Benghazi two days after the leaders of the two sides at issue in the Maghreb country left Moscow without agreement. It is expected that the head of German Foreign visit Marshal Jalifa Haftar, leader of the Libyan National Army, collects The New York Times.
Germany on Tuesday invited the parties facing the armed conflict in Libya and the rest of the world powers involved in the region to hold a new peace conference in Berlin this Sunday, January 19. This was announced by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a statement from her office. Merkel adopted the decision after having conversations with the secretary general of the United Nations Antonio Guterres. Both Haftar and the head of the National Agreement Government Fayez Sarraj are invited to the Berlin meeting.
The Government of Germany has moved token in search of greater European involvement in the Libyan conflict after the days of talks in Russia for peace have ended. The negotiations ended with the abandonment of the negotiations by Haftar, who claimed that he would have to consult local tribes and without having managed to reach a permanent ceasefire agreement. This new German negotiating attempt is aimed at leaders and diplomats from the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and other states of the Arab League and the African Union.
Maas anticipated to the press on Tuesday that the participating countries have already reached a common agreement on a joint document after several months of work. "At this conference, we would like to discuss this document again with all the participants and, if we succeed, we will also approve it," said Maas. The German Foreign Minister has also recognized be hopeful that this Berlin conference let us find the way to the political solution of the conflict in the North African country by ceasing the armed activity and making the parties return to the UN-sponsored talks.
Germany maintains its support for the UN envoy, Ghassan Salame, to begin the transition process in Libya. This plan includes the establishment of a humanitarian truce and a high-level international conference that allows bilateral talks between the warring Libyan parties. Berlin, although it does not have a direct military participation in the Libyan conflict, has been trying to mediate between the different actors of the international community acting in the region, according to Deutsche Welle, the expert in the Middle East and North of Africa Tim Eaton.
Nevertheless, Germany has failed to unite the positions of the different states, even within the countries of the European Union. Italy that has shown its support for Fayez Sarraj, of the Government of National Agreement (GAN) recognized by the UN, but maintains contacts and meetings independently with the two parties faced in the conflict. France, however, supports Marshal Haftar.
For its part, the European Union has shown Wednesday its confidence about this summit convened by Germany. "The expectation is that the Berlin conference will move the political process forward in terms of a possible agreement on a ceasefire," Peter Stano, spokesman for the EU's top representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrel, told reporters. "Here the focus is on the ceasefire and respect for the application of the arms embargo previously decreed by the UN to Libya," he added.
The European spokesman also recalled the "strong mandate" that EU foreign ministers showed in an extraordinary council last Friday for Borrell to "follow up and enforce what is agreed at the Berlin conference and that propose measures to ensure that conference agreements are implemented. ” The EU will also attend this conference with the presence of Borrell and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel; The assistance of the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, remains to be confirmed.
It seems that Italy is going to attend the meeting with some preparations. Egyptian President Abdelfatah al-Sisi and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte have agreed on Tuesday "to intensify joint efforts" to support the negotiated exit in Libya with a view to the international conference in Berlin on Sunday. As the Egyptian Presidency has communicated in a note, the two leaders have decided to “intensify joint efforts (…) to reach a comprehensive and political solution to the crisis in a way that restores stability in Libya, supports national institutions and maintains their territorial integrity and its sovereignty ”.
Along the same lines, Al-Sisi highlighted during the meeting "strengthen bilateral coordination and cooperation between the two countries to face regional challenges in the Mediterranean area." The Italian Prime Minister said that this visit is "a clear message of the strong historical ties between Egypt and Italy" and has expressed the desire of the Italian Government to strengthen relations between the two Mediterranean countries, which were resentful after the murder of the Giulio Regeni student in 2016 in Cairo.
The Berlin conference presents itself as an opportunity to further boost the peace process and achieve a permanent cessation of hostilities after the two belligerent parties reached a ceasefire in Moscow. Although the success of diplomatic meetings this Sunday is not guaranteed, they represent a step forward for European states to gain a presence in the resolution of the conflict in the North African country, which until now had been the protagonist of Turkey and the Russian Federation.