Actors in Libya must bring both sides of conflict to negotiating table: EU official

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The European Union is not part of the conflict in Libya but it calls for de-escalation of tensions and for all the actors involved to act responsibly and bring the two warring parties in the civil conflict to the negotiating table, Peter Stano, the lead spokesperson for the external affairs of the EU, told Al Arabiya on Monday.

“The European Union is not part of the conflict in Libya and we are not the judge… Everyone has the responsibility to make all the efforts to bring both parties of the conflict behind a negotiating table. This is a responsible behavior, and this is something for the benefit of the Libyan people,” said Stano.

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He added that the Libyan conflict is not simply limited between the two main warring parties, the Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar and the Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Fayez al-Serraj.

Stano pointed out that “in every conflict, there is not one single actor, one single party to be blamed.”

He added: “A conflict is a result of action of various sides and various actors. That is why we as the European Union, which is, not part of the conflict - we are not fueling this conflict but we are trying to contribute to the solution by pushing all the sides, appealing to their responsibilities to engage in meaningful political negotiations.”

Tensions have also escalated between the countries which back opposing sides in the Libyan conflict.

On Saturday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that his country has a legitimate right to intervene in Libya to protect its national security and ordered the army to be prepared to carry out missions if necessary.

He said: “Any direct intervention from the Egyptian state has now acquired international legitimacy,” adding that Egypt had received “direct threats” from “terrorist militias and mercenaries” supported by foreign countries.

Earlier in June, Egypt had called for a ceasefire in Libya, Sisi added that Egypt has always been reluctant to intervene in Libya but “the situation now is different.”

On Sunday, the GNA rejected the Egyptian President’s warning of military intervention as “unacceptable” and described it as a “declaration of war.”

"This is a hostile act, direct interference and amounts to a declaration of war," the GNA said in a statement.

An Egyptian official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the GNA’s statement reflected its willingness to waste yet another chance to end the Libyan crisis. It also showed how it is trying again to strengthen itself amongst Libyans by relying on the assistance of a foreign party.

They must realize the truth of their size inside Libya and be aware of who they’re talking to. Egypt exhibits a lot of patience, but it will be extremely firm in the face of any transgression or an attempt to infringe on its national interests and security,” the source said according to state news agency MENA.

Turkey, which backs the GNA, has also been ramping up its military intervention in Libya recently.

On Monday, Turkey dismissed Egypt’s warning of intervening in Libya.

UN arms embargo against Libya

Stano also stressed that countries should respect the United Nations’ arms embargo against Libya in order to stop fueling the conflict and help restore order in the country.

“Every member of the international community should respect the UN Security Council resolutions. That means also the UN arms embargo on Libya. Everyone should respect it; everyone should refrain from interfering in this conflict, (whether by) fueling it by continued supplies of military hardware be it weapons, be it soldiers or fighters,” Stano said.

He added: “The EU is trying to help to enforce the arms embargo because the constant flow of weapons to Libya is not bringing the solution, its bringing further destruction and further suffering. And this is something that needs to be stopped. And that's our part, how the EU wants to contribute to a possible solution.”

Read more:

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Libya’s GNA should realize its size, who it’s talking to: Egypt official in report

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