The United Nations Security Council is considering a proposal to meet on the situation in Libya this week after world leaders agreed on a final communiqué at a summit in Berlin at the weekend.
Part of that communiqué commits world leaders to no longer interfere in the country’s ongoing civil war while vowing to uphold a Security Council-mandated arms embargo that has been continually violated by several states with impunity.
The conflict has since April last year pitted renegade Commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces against the UN-recognized government in Tripoli under Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj.
Attendees in Berlin included the Presidents of Russia, Turkey, France and Egypt, the United States Secretary of State, the AU Commission Chair and the UN Chief Antonio Guterres.
“I cannot stress enough the Summit’s conclusion that there is no military solution to the conflict in Libya. All participants have mentioned it several times during the meeting, even those that are directly involved in the conflict itself. And today, all participants committed to refrain from interference in the armed conflict or internal affairs of Libya. This is part of the conclusions and of course, this must be adhered to, as well as the call to silence the guns with the termination of all military hostilities,” said Guterres.
A truce brokered earlier this month by Russia and Turkey marked the first break in fighting in months but there have since been reports of repeated violations with calls for a full-fledged ceasefire to end all hostilities. The leaders of both sides each named five members of a military committee that is expected to represent them at talks that could lead to a permanent ceasefire. The United Nations has indicated that the committee could convene in Geneva in the coming days while the UN boss had firm words on violations of the arms embargo.
“I think we are witnessing something that is totally unacceptable. It’s a constant violation of international law. It’s Security Council resolutions that are not being respected. And as you know this is taking place in the recent past in Libya. So, I am totally convinced that the members of the Security Council need to assume their responsibilities for the body itself to be taken seriously in the context of the Libyan conflict.”
With a view that the Berlin Conference succeeded in fending off the risk of a true regional escalation.
Germany’s Ambassador to the UN, Christoph Heusgen, “Germany is committed to this process and as you know, Germany chairs the sanctions sub-group of the sanctions committee of the SC, what is very important is now how we really implement international law, implement international humanitarian law, that we implement also the sanctions regime and this is also the most important, we will not have a real ceasefire if the delivery of weapons continues into this process so, ceasefire, respect for the arms embargo, political process, economic process, humanitarian process, this is now what we’ll hope to see.”
With speculation that the Security Council might be weighing the option of deploying a further UN presence to Libya to monitor any future ceasefire.