The Address | Benghazi – Libya
BERLIN – The fact that the leadership of the Libya follow-up committees from the Berlin peace conference has gone to Italy “shows what an important and constructive role Italy has played in this process,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told a press conference in Berlin Monday.
Seibert confirmed the rotating presidency would move to Italy in March.
He said Italy would decide when the next International Follow-up Committee meeting would take place in Rome.
Since April last year, the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has been battling militias allied with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). These militias have been the main source of chaos and instability in the capital since the overthrow of late dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The conflict saw a grave escalation last December when GNA’s Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj signed a military deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan which paved the way for Ankara to send some of its troops as well as Syrian mercenaries to Tripoli.
This escalation triggered a diplomatic effort from the international community to reinstall the peace process in Libya.
Germany organized a peace conference on Libya in Berlin on January 19 in a bid to kick-start political dialogue in the North African country. It was attended by global powers and regional stakeholders who called for a ceasefire and pledged to uphold the UN arms embargo.
However, fighting resumed soon after the Berlin meeting ended, dashing hopes of a ceasefire. The UN has said “several” countries that participated in the conference subsequently shipped foreign fighters, advanced weapons and armored vehicles to Libyan groups.
Foreign ministers from world powers and regional actors gathered in Munich yesterday to discuss the implementation of the Libya cease-fire and end foreign countries’ violations of the arms embargo.