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Berlin summit commits to cease-fire in Libya


At its conclusion, Sunday’s international conference in Berlin on finding peace in Libya stressed its commitment to implementing a fragile cease-fire in the North African country.

“We call on all parties concerned to redouble their efforts for a sustained suspension of hostilities, de-escalation and a permanent ceasefire,” said the conference’s final declaration.

“We call for the termination of all military movements by, or in direct support of, the conflict parties, in and over the entire territory of Libya, starting from the beginning of the ceasefire process,” it added.

The participants also agreed to establish an International Follow-Up Committee (IFC) with the participation of all countries and international organizations that attended the conference “in order to maintain coordination in the aftermath of the Berlin Conference on Libya, under the aegis of the United Nations.”

The declaration also welcomed nominations from warring sides for the military “5+5 Committee” proposed by the conference to continue cease-fire talks.

All conference participants declared that “they will refrain from any further military deployments or operations as long as the truce is respected.”

The declaration also stated that the participants are committed to Libya’s sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and national unity.

“Only a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process can end the conflict and bring lasting peace,” it added about the longstanding conflict.

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: warlord Khalifa Haftar’s in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the UAE, and the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

Libya’s internationally recognized government in the capital Tripoli has been under attack by Haftar since last April, and fighting over the last nine months has killed more than 1,000 people.

UN arms embargo

The conference agreed to implement and respect the arms embargo established under UN Security Council Resolution 1970 (2011).

“We call on all actors to refrain from any activities exacerbating the conflict or inconsistent with the UNSC arms embargo or the ceasefire, including the financing of military capabilities or the recruitment of mercenaries,” it added.

On Jan. 12, the warring sides of the Libyan conflict announced a cease-fire in response to a joint call by Turkish and Russian leaders.

But last Monday, talks for a permanent cease-fire deal ended without an agreement after Haftar left Moscow without signing the deal.

Even as world leaders met in Berlin Sunday to chart a way forward for peace in Libya, Haftar’s forces were violating the week-old cease-fire around the capital Tripoli.

Periodic gunshots were heard south of the Libyan capital, and black smoke was rising, according to reports on the ground.

Last Monday, talks for a permanent cease-fire deal ended without an agreement after Haftar left Moscow without signing the deal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres co-hosted Sunday’s Berlin conference, attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, among others.

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