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Landmark Libya peace conference begins in Berlin


World leaders gathered in Berlin on Sunday to discuss ways to achieve a lasting cease-fire and a political solution to the longstanding Libyan conflict.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, co-hosts of the Berlin conference on Libya, greeted their guests at the door of the Federal Chancellery.

Leaders attending the conference include Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Ahead of the conference, Erdogan had a bilateral meeting with Libya’s internationally recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, who urged the international community to assume more responsibility to stop the military offensive of warlord Khalifa Haftar.

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the UAE, and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, one of Haftar’s main supporters, is also attending the conference. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), another backer of Haftar’s forces, sent Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan for the meeting.

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

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.

Both Prime Minister al-Sarraj and Haftar have arrived in Berlin for the conference at Germany’s invitation.

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