World, Middle East, Europe

Merkel urges weapons embargo on Libya

German Chancellor welcomes Libyan warlord Haftar’s promise to respect current cease-fire

Ayhan Şimşek   | 16.01.2020
Merkel urges weapons embargo on Libya German Chancellor Angela Merkel

BERLIN 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called for a weapons embargo on Libya to facilitate a political solution to the conflict.

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Merkel welcomed renegade commander Khalifa Haftar’s promise to respect the existing cease-fire and his acceptance of an invitation to the Berlin Conference slated for Sunday.

“First of all, it is good news that he is ready to observe the cease-fire,” she said, stressing that it was one of the requirements for the success of the Berlin conference.

The chancellor called for a new commitment from the conflict parties to respect the UN arms embargo on Libya.

“At the Libya conference, we must achieve above all that the weapons embargo will be implemented […] it was already agreed within the UN framework, but so far not adhered to,” she said.

Haftar’s forces, which received backing from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), began a major military offensive in April last year to capture Tripoli from the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), drawing international condemnation.

According to the UN, more than 1,000 people have been killed since the start of the offensive and over 5,000 others injured.

On Jan. 12, the warring sides of the Libyan conflict announced a cease-fire in response to a joint call by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But talks for a permanent cease-fire deal ended without an agreement on Monday after Haftar left Moscow demanding two days to consult with local Libyan tribes for their approval, while the head of the GNA Fayez al-Sarraj signed the cease-fire deal.

Earlier on Thursday, Haftar promised to respect the existing cease-fire, after nearly three-hours long meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Benghazi.

In a Twitter post, Maas said Haftar has accepted German government’s invitation to attend Libya peace conference in Berlin on Sunday.

“General Haftar has signaled his readiness to contribute to the success of the Libya Conference in Berlin and is willing to participate. He has repeated his commitment to observe the existing cease-fire,” he said.

Germany seeks to bring conflict parties and countries concerned with the Libyan issue at the Berlin Conference in an attempt to reach a permanent cease-fire and to pave the way for a political solution to the conflict.

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 the UN and international recognition.

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