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Libya peace summit agrees to ceasefire, respect for arms embargo (Ld)

The international allies of the Libyan government backed by the UN and the country's rebel forces have agreed to implement the ceasefire launched a week ago and the world body-decreed embargo on weapons imports.
Libya peace summit agrees to ceasefire, respect for arms embargo (Ld)

The accord was reached on Sunday at an international conference on Libya in Berlin organised by the German government and the UN and attended by the President of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Serraj, who is supported by Turkey, and the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), military strongman Khalifa Haftar, backed by Russia and who controls his forces from Tobruk, reports Efe news.

"One can say that the Libya Conference is making an important contribution to peace efforts by the UN," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the media here on Sunday night.

In her judgment, "there is no possibility for a military solution" and "we need a political solution", said Merkel, who for the first time managed to convene a conference of all the relevant national and international actors in the conflict in the North African nation.

Merkel said that the arms embargo must be "strongly monitored" to ensure it is abided by and that the entire agreement - if it is to have international validity - must now be approved by the UN Security Council.

The document commits the parties to a "lasting" and "verifiable" truce and urges all actors to "unequivocally" comply with the arms embargo. It also demands that they refrain from contributing to escalating the conflict.

In addition, it states that the solution to the overall crisis in Libya can only come via a political process that must be controlled and led by the Libyans themselves, as well as insisting on the need to maintain the unity of the country, its territorial integrity and national sovereignty.

Attending the summit were the Presidents of France (Emmanuel Macron), Russia (Vladimir Putin), Turkey (Recep Tayyip Erdogan), Egypt (Abdel Fattah al-Sisi), along with the Prime Ministers of Italy (Giuseppe Conte) and the UK (Boris Johnson), as well as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Bringing all the international actors together at one table was considered, in and of itself, to be a success for Germany as a mediator without significant direct interests in Libya.

The clash of interests in Libya stems from its significant petroleum reserves, as well as its role as a transit nation for African migrants seeking entry into Europe, something that concerns Berlin and Brussels, in particular.

Haftar, whose LNA controls over 60 per cent of the country, has seemed to be the most reluctant to reach an agreement to halt the years-long feud in Libya.

His forces since April have been battling to seize Tripoli, killing more than 1,500 people, injuring over 15,000 and displacing 140,000 more.

After 10 months of fighting, Haftar's self-styled LNA took control of the coastal city of Sirte and has been moving toward the western city of Misrata, held by pro-GNA forces.

Turkey's Erdogan had warned Haftar last week that he would teach him "a lesson" if he did not stop his attacks on Tripoli and said this Saturday that his country would "continue to stay in Libya until the legitimate government is brought to safety".

Political turmoil and unrest have plagued Libya since the 2011 overthrow and execution of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

( With inputs from IANS )

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