A set of measures to overcome the ongoing Libyan crisis has been agreed in a wide-ranging document at the Berlin talks, the acting Russian FM said – and it is up to the Libyans themselves to take up the peace process baton.
The document agreed at the conference covers several aspects that need work to resolve the Libyan crisis, acting Russian FM Sergey Lavrov told journalists, following a meeting that lasted about five hours.
“It contains a chapter dedicated to security issues, which in particular includes measures to keep a stable ceasefire regime,” the minister said. Other proposals state that all of Libya’s sectarian groups, ethnic and political, should benefit from the nation’s natural resources.
A special chapter also focuses on humanitarian issues and the plight of Libyan civilians; there is a chapter regulating international support for Libya that should be lent under the UN auspices.
Russia insisted on inviting Libyan leaders
The peace conference could have ended differently had Russia not pushed for the leaders of the two major Libyan warring factions to be invited to the meeting, the foreign minister said.
It was due to our insistence that the conference organizers abandon their initial idea of convening the conference without the Libyan parties.
He also added that Moscow had advocated the idea of expanding the circle of the conference participants to include Libya’s regional neighbors, which was eventually accepted by other nations.
Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of the UN-backed Tripoli-based government, and General Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army, which controls most part of the country, took part in the summit alongside the leaders of Russia, Germany, France, and the UK, as well as the US secretary of state.
Their participation was fundamental to the peace talks and helped all sides to make another step towards resolving the crisis, the summit host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Sunday.
“It was important that… Prime Minister Sarraj and General Haftar named their representatives for a military ‘five plus five’ commission meeting,” she said, adding that this commission should become a “basis” for a sustainable ceasefire regime.
Long way ahead?
While Lavrov hailed the results of the conference, he said that it’s a small step towards a resolution compared to where the parties were after earlier landmark talks in Moscow. He described the Berlin meeting as “useful” but said that the participants failed to make the two rival Libyan leaders start a meaningful, sustainable dialogue, as the differences between the two are still “too big.”
The initial Moscow meeting held last Monday involved Haftar and Sarraj as well as the Russian and Turkish foreign and defense ministers; it lasted more than six hours but did not end in a signed agreement. However, the fact that it brought together both factions in the Libyan civil war was a major achievement, even though they still refused to sit in the same room, as was the case in Berlin.
Both the GNA and the LNA have for the most part respected the ceasefire called for by Moscow and Ankara, prompting the leaders to be cautiously optimistic about the possibility of peace.
Now, the Berlin proposals agreed in the German capital will be added to a catalog of ideas which “the international community could use to create conditions for the Libyan sides to come to the negotiation table and start reaching an agreement,” Lavrov said.