Merkel to host Libya peace summit

The German plan envisages an end to military support for Libyan warring parties that would then lead to a ceasefire.

Merkel to host Libya peace summit
dpa

Berlin (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host a Libya peace conference in Berlin on Sunday, just days after a meeting in Moscow aimed at solving the country's conflict ended in stalemate.

The Berlin summit was organized in coordination with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who is leading consultations to find a peaceful solution to the Libya conflict together with the UN's special envoy for the country, Ghassan Salame.

Representatives from the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey will take part, as well as top officials from a number of African and Arab countries, Berlin said.

Libya's internationally recognized prime minister, Fayez al-Serraj, and rebel leader Khalifa Haftar have been invited to attend, a German government statement said.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday he was optimistic about sealing a peace agreement at the Berlin talks.

"We are at a point where we believe we have made such an agreement with all involved and it makes sense to meet at a conference," he said.

Maas told journalists that "the military conflict could only be resolved when the influence from abroad is ended, and all those who are exercising influence agree to stop providing military goods to the different warring parties in the future."

Any agreement reached at the talks in Berlin "would establish the precondition that those involved in the civil war would no longer be able to continue their conflict in military form in the medium and long term. Instead, a political process would be introduced, guided by the UN."

The German plan envisages an end to military support for Libyan warring parties that would then lead to a ceasefire.

The renewed push for peace came after Haftar left a conference in Moscow without signing a ceasefire deal with the rival, UN-recognized government.

Turkey, which has dispatched troops to bolster al-Serraj, and Russia, a backer of Haftar, were the main powers trying to broker a lasting truce agreement.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has said he will attend the Berlin summit, said Haftar had "ran away from Moscow."

Libya has been in turmoil since the 2011 overthrow of long-time dictator Moamer Gaddafi.

The oil-rich country has two competing administrations: the UN-backed government of al-Serraj in Tripoli and the other, based in the eastern city of Tobruk, allied with Haftar.

In recent years, Libya has been a major transit route for migrants, mostly Africans, trying to reach Europe by boat, with many thousands being rescued or drowning at sea.