Working to foster de‑escalation in Libya
Libya was the first stop on Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’s trip to North Africa, which will also take him to Tunisia and Egypt. The turmoil of the Arab Spring of 2011 has led to the collapse of order in Libya. Since then, the country has been in a difficult phase of political upheaval. The eastern part of Libya has been under the control of the Libyan National Army, which is commanded by General Haftar, for a longer time, while the internationally recognised Government of National Accord controls the western part of the country around Tripoli.
Parts of the country still serve as a safe haven for the terrorist militia group IS. Furthermore, although Libyans have not fled their country in large numbers so far, Libya is an important transit country on the route to Europe. The focus of attention is repeatedly on the terrible conditions in the camps where refugees are housed.
The Libyan National Army launched an attack on the capital Tripoli in April this year. Peace and stability in the country are once again at severe risk and efforts to resolve the protracted political crisis peacefully are at a crossroads. The German Government is working with its partners in the UN Security Council, as well as in the framework of the EU and G7, to bring about de‑escalation.
Meetings with al‑Sarraj and Salamé
Foreign Minister Maas thus held talks with key political stakeholders during his visit to Libya. A meeting with Fayez al‑Sarraj, Chairman of the Presidential Council, took place in Zuwara. Foreign Minister Maas also met Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya. The current crisis can only be resolved by a political process under the auspices of the United Nations.
North Africa is a neighbouring region of Europe
After his visit to Libya, Foreign Minister Maas will travel on to Tunisia. The countries of North Africa are direct neighbours of the EU. With a coastline of over 4000 kilometres, the region borders the southern Mediterranean. Events in North Africa have a direct impact on Europe. Germany and the EU are working closely with the region to combat the dangers posed by terrorism, the drugs trade and human smuggling. The region can also serve as a bridge between Europe and Africa.