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European crisis diplomacy for Libya

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas with the European High Representative Josep Borrell and the Foreign Ministers from France, the UK and Italy

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas with the European High Representative Josep Borrell and the Foreign Ministers from France, the UK and Italy, © Xander Heinl/photothek.net

07.01.2020 - Article

Foreign Minister Maas is discussing the situation in Libya and European support for the work of the EU High Representative in Brussels together with his Italian, UK and French counterparts and EU High Representative Borrell.

Heading towards a proxy war

The conflict that broke out in April 2019 is increasingly developing into a proxy war on account of massive violations of the UN arms embargo. The people in Libya are bearing the brunt of the suffering and migrants and refugees are also greatly affected by the conflict. The country is one of Europe’s direct neighbours, so what happens there has a direct impact on European security.

Framework conditions for the intra-Libyan process

Foreign Minister Maas and his European counterparts firmly believe that there can be no military solution to the conflict. In Brussels, Maas is holding discussions on joint support for the UN and the Berlin Process initiated by Germany with his French, Italian and UK counterparts and with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The Berlin Process aims to support the efforts of UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UN Special Representative Ghassan Salamé to end the conflict. The objective is to create the framework conditions for an inner-Libyan political process under the auspices of the UN in a dialogue with international actors. The conflict is primarily shaped by the behaviour of external actors. In Brussels, Foreign Minister Maas stressed that this was not acceptable:

We want to urge countries wielding influence in Libya to support a ceasefire and arms embargo as well as the political process under the aegis of the UN.

Europeans are pulling in the same direction

It is the view of the UN and Germany that only the Libyan people can determine their country’s future. The Berlin Process is not divorced from developments in Libya itself, however. Foreign Minister Maas and his European counterparts are therefore calling on the parties to the conflict in Libya to put in place an immediate ceasefire and for them to play an active part in the dialogue formats developed by the UN with a view to bringing about a comprehensive political process. They are working to achieve this aim in talks with all sides.

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