World powers begin Libya peace talks in Berlin

Leaders line up for a family picture during a Peace summit on Libya at the Chancellery in Berlin. (AFP)

World leaders including the presidents of Turkey, Russia, and France opened talks on Sunday at a summit hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel aimed at ending the war in Libya.

Held under the auspices of the United Nations, the summit’s main goal is to get foreign powers wielding influence in the region to stop interfering in the war - be it through the supply of weapons, troops, or financing.

The one-day summit will not attempt to broker a power-sharing agreement between the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by commander Khalifa Haftar and the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj. Instead, the focus is on a lasting ceasefire to restart talks.

Oil blockade

The LNA shut down eastern oil ports on Friday, cutting oil production by 800,000 barrels a day. That will hit hard Tripoli, which benefits most from oil revenues.

Qatar condemned the storming of Libya’s eastern Zueitina oil export port.

A draft of the summit’s final communique called on all parties to refrain from hostilities against oil facilities.

The draft also recognizes Tripoli-based state oil company NOC as the sole legitimate entity allowed to sell Libyan oil, according to the draft, which will be discussed at the summit.

Greece and Turkey

Haftar flew to Athens on Thursday for a surprise visit as Greece seeks to build ties with the Libyan commander after the UN-recognized government in Tripoli signed security and maritime deals with Turkey.

Athens is fiercely opposed to the contentious maritime deal between Ankara and Tripoli, which claims much of the Mediterranean for energy exploration, conflicting with rival claims by Greece and Cyprus.

Turkey has strongly supported the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj, and its parliament approved a motion to send troops to Libya earlier this month.

Greece sought to take part in the talks in Berlin, but was not invited.

Turkey on Saturday lashed out at Greece for hosting Haftar, saying that the move would “sabotage” peace efforts on the eve of an international summit in Berlin.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:53 - GMT 06:53
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