Foreign Minister Steinmeier after the foreign ministers meeting on Libya

16.05.2016 - Press release

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement in Vienna on 16 May after the foreign ministers meeting on Libya:

It was a good and important meeting on the conflict in Libya here today in Vienna. All key partners and partner countries, in particular Libya’s neighbours, were around the table. All those who have an influence on the situation in Libya and, particularly, all those who we need if we are to prepare solutions to help keep Libya together, avoid a split and build a new future. Despite all the differences on the question of how Libya should be re-shaped, there was broad agreement around the table today that the Libyan peace agreement remains the basis of our joint efforts. Taking this further, this means the readiness of all those around the table today to support the Government of National Accord in Tripoli and thus also the work of Martin Kobler, UN Special Representative.

When it comes to the question of the nature of this support, all declared their readiness to help establish new state and administrative structures. There was agreement amongst all participants, despite all the differences, that a new government must have loyal security forces who now need to be trained. There was of course also agreement that, now that a new government is in place in the country, we must do something to bring about an improvement in people's living conditions and in the supply situation.

However, we also spoke about the dangers posed to the neighbouring areas by human trafficking and arms smuggling in Libya.

We must play our part to ensure the Mediterranean does not become an area of lawlessness. Together with the permanent members of the UN Security Council, we must bring about a new resolution in the Security Council so that we can better control arms smuggling to Libya and stop weapons getting to the country. But a further question is how to avoid uncontrolled migration via the Mediterranean. Here, too, many European countries are ready to help re-establish an effective Libyan coastguard.

The decisive conflict which continues to prevent agreement in Libya is the rivalry between political staff in Tripoli and Tobruk which has thus far meant no political understanding could be reached. General Haftar is the key figure in Tobruk who needs to be won over to support the Government of National Accord in Tripoli. That is why we agreed to try in the coming days to resolve this conflict between Tripoli and Tobruk, to prepare the way for integrating General Haftar into Libya’s future political structures and thus prevent a split in the country. Those were the main points covered at today’s meeting.

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