What happens next in Libya?
Foreign Minister Maas at the virtual meeting, © Janine Schmitz/photothek.net
Following the UN General Assembly, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and UN Secretary-General António Guterres invited the international community to a virtual conference on the Libya conflict. The goal: to take stock and determine the next steps along the way to stabilising the Country.
Positive developments ...
In Libya there have increasingly been signs of positive development: a nationwide ceasefire is largely being observed by the parties to the conflict. Oil production and processing are gradually restarting after months-long blockades of oil fields by armed groups. And negotiations are underway again: representatives of the major political parties have agreed on a timetable for an intra-Libyan political process during negotiations led by the UN.
... but challenges remain
However, the conflict has not yet been resolved. On the front line to the west of the city of Sirte at the heart of the country, the parties to the conflict are still standing face to face, armed to the hilt. Military support for the conflict parties continues almost unabated. For this reason, the co-chairs of the conference reminded the parties of the voluntary commitments they pledged to uphold in January in Berlin, particularly compliance with the arms embargo. In this context, Foreign Minister Maas specifically mentioned the EU operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI. With the operation, the EU is making a significant contribution to monitoring and implementing the arms embargo and is working closely with the UN bodies responsible for it.
Focus on UN mediation
The focus of today’s meeting, however, was on the mediation efforts and dialogue formats of the United Nations, which Foreign Minister Maas and Secretary-General Guterres again brought to the attention of the video conference participants. In the Federal Government’s view, it is crucial for the stabilisation of Libya that all talks and negotiations take place under the auspices of the UN-led process and feed into it. Maas highlighted the great commitment of Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General Stephanie Williams, with whom the Federal Government is in close contact.
After the conference, Foreign Minister Maas emphasised:
We have always maintained that stabilising Libya is not a sprint, but a marathon. After a phase in which things sometimes even regressed, it’s good to be able to say that we have come a bit further today.