Statement by Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas after the Ministerial Meeting on Libya, October 5, 2020

05.10.2020 - Speech

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We have just held intensive discussions on the situation in Libya with a large number of other countries as part of what is known as the “extended Berlin format” at the invitation of the United Nations Secretary-General. Eight months after the Berlin conference, it was high time to take stock of the situation:

  • What have we achieved?
  • What remains to be done? 
  • What will be the next steps?

And I have to say something I could not have said a couple of weeks ago: We have grounds to be cautiously optimistic. We are seeing increasing signs of a shift from a military to a political rationale. And more and more stakeholders are adopting this way of thinking. This is illustrated by the results of the negotiations between the most important Libyan groups in Montreux, where finally an agreement was reached on a basic roadmap for an inclusive intra-Libyan political process. That is something we always aimed for.

But we have also seen that military support for the parties to the conflict is continuing. And as long as there is a steady flow of military equipment, weapons and personnel to the parties to the conflict, there will be no way out of the military impasse. That is why I reminded the participants today of the voluntary commitments they had made in Berlin – certainly the arms embargo in particular.

Today, we once again urged all participants to commit to the UN’s mediation efforts and the corresponding dialogue formats.

We see a growing willingness to support this process with new channels of dialogue. However, this must not lead to the parties playing different dialogue formats off against each other. It is therefore important that all efforts are made under the umbrella of the UN-led process. Only in this way can we make real progress. This was made very clear today.

I would like to thank Stephanie Williams, who is executing her duties as Acting Special Representative with the utmost dedication, for her close cooperation in a spirit of trust, especially in her cooperation with the German Federal Government.

We have always maintained that stabilising Libya is not a sprint, but a marathon. And this has proven to be true. But after a phase in which things sometimes even regressed, it’s good to be able to say that we have come a bit further today.


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