While the US and Arab states might be at the table too, Moscow and Ankara will want the EU to have as little as possible to do with any resolution to the conflict in the country
21st January 2020
For one day at least, the real battle for Libya’s future was not the battleground around Tripoli, but effectively a conference table in Berlin. It is a shame then that while the true shot-callers in the war-raged country were present, any progress looks set to remain on paper.
The conference was doomed to fail from the outset because it stands at odds with the new relationship the US and Russia have developed – even if they haven’t officially acknowledged it – in the Middle East. Germany, the US, France and the UK were all there and the right noises were made about a need to limit foreign interference in the conflict. There was also an agreement that anyone breaking the arms embargo would face sanctions. There were also scattered comments about the use of a possible peace-keeping force.
But international powers face two main issues. The first is that the two major forces involved, the UN-recognised government in Tripoli led by the prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, and the Libyan National Army led by General Khalifa Haftar will not yet negotiate directly. Both sides have agreed to nominate five members to an UN ceasefire monitoring committee, but it is clear there is much work to be done. “Our long experience in dealing with Haftar reinforces that he will seek power at any cost,” Sarraj has said