United Nations

Libya Summit: Participants Agree to Respect Arms Embargo

Libya has sunk further into chaos since the 2011 ouster and killing of its longtime dictator

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday that countries with interests in Libya’s long-running conflict have agreed that they should respect a much-violated arms embargo, which should be better controlled than it has been to date.

The participants at Sunday’s summit in Berlin agreed to provide no further military support to the warring parties while a cease-fire lasts, Merkel said after about four hours of talks at the chancellery in Berlin.

Among those attending were Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"We agreed on a comprehensive plan forward," Merkel said. "I can say that all participants worked really constructively together."

“We all agree that we should respect the arms embargo and that the arms embargo should be controlled more strongly than it has been in the past," she said.

The members of the conference agreed to provide no further military support to the warring parties, Merkel said.

She added that the participants would continue to hold regular further meetings to ensure the process continues “so the people in Libya get their right to a peaceful life.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres thanked Merkel for her "absolutely remarkable" efforts.

"I cannot stress enough the summit's conclusion that there is no military solution to the conflict in Libya," he told reporters in Berlin.

“I hope the commitments made today will contribute to a lasting solution to the Libya crisis,” Guterres said.

The U.N. chief said that “we need to have a cease-fire."

“We cannot monitor something that doesn't exist," Guterres said. "We have a truce.”

Guterres said all the participants committed to “put pressure on the parties for a full cease-fire to be reached.”

Merkel hosted leaders from 11 countries outside Libya as well as the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and the Arab League.

Libya's two main rival leaders, Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj and Gen. Khalifa Hifter, also came to Berlin.

Asked whether Sarraj and Hifter were part of the talks in Berlin, Merkel said: “We spoke with them individually because the differences between them are so great that they aren't speaking with each other at the moment.”

Merkel and her foreign minister met both men at the chancellery before the summit began. Merkel said the two men agreed to name members of a military committee that will represent them at talks on a more permanent cease-fire.

Guterres said that the committee would be convened “in Geneva in the coming days.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that “we know that today's signatures aren't enough.”

He said countries that weren't invited Sunday will be given the opportunity to participate in future meetings of the four committees dealing with various aspects of the crisis, among them military issues and the economy.

"We know that the work has only just started," Maas said, but praised the "spirit of cooperation" seen in Berlin.

The U.N. envoy on Libya, Ghassan Salame, said “now I'm thinking about tomorrow." He said that Sunday's meeting had given the process a boost.

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