What's next for Libya?

Published 16.01.2020 16:29
Updated 17.01.2020 01:23

"We don't want to use hard power in Libya. That is why we took up intense efforts for a cease-fire and to include all parties in the process. There is one truth and that is that [Khalifa] Haftar does not want peace. He does not want to share power and authority with anyone."

These are the words Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu uttered in a conference in Ankara on Haftar's unexpected departure in Moscow on Thursday. With his departure, the talks in Moscow ended with no results. But the efforts are still going on to maintain peace and stability in Libya.

There will be a meeting in Berlin on Sunday with leaders and heads of state from 12 countries and four multinational organizations including the U.N. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? It is difficult to be optimistic at this stage since there has been an outbreak of gunfire in Tripoli backed by the United Arab Emirates. The reason Haftar left Moscow was also the UAE.

The interference of outside forces makes the Libya case much more difficult to solve. Hence the aim of the Berlin conference is to secure a collective pledge that external actors will end their interference in Libya and not send troops or artillery or fly drones.

Fayez el-Sarraj's U.N.-backed government has been under attack since April from Haftar's forces. The two sides agreed to a cease-fire which was organized by Turkey and Russia until Haftar left Moscow. The seven-hour talks ended with Sarraj signing the agreement and Haftar's forces leaving without comment.

That decision was probably taken with the calculation of the UAE and Egypt's support since Haftar took a risk against Russia. All this will hopefully be discussed in Berlin this weekend. Egypt, the UAE, Sarraj and Haftar are expected to be at the conference.

It is due to the efforts of Turkey and Russia that the Libyan problem has a chance to be discussed with all sides. Although Ankara and Moscow are on opposite sides, there is a mutual feeling of finding an agreement in Libya.

However, Haftar openly declared that the war will resume. The speaker of the pro-Haftar House of Representatives said that the cease-fire is over. It seems that Turkey's efforts to maintain peace makes Haftar and his forces angry. The Moscow summit made clear that it is his side who benefits from clashes in Libya. So the only solution for Libya is to convince Haftar or to defeat him. The Berlin conference might be a chance for peace but only if the UAE, Egypt and other Haftar backers stop supporting his "violence oriented approach" and supply guns for his forces.

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