Merkel working towards ceasefire in Libya

BERLIN – Following the failed meeting in Moscow yesterday, it was Berlin’s turn to house a delegation of world leaders in an effort to reach an agreement on a ceasefire for Libya.

As host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel took on the responsibility of mediating between the two opposing Libyan leaders, both of whom claim legitimacy and popular support. Since the failure of the Moscow meeting, Merkel stands to gain accolades if the Berlin meeting results in the signing of a ceasefire deal.

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, Commander of the Libyan National Army and representing the House of Representatives based in the eastern city of Tobruk, has the support of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, several African countries, and Russia and has long been in control of Tripoli, Libya’s capital. Fayez al-Sarraj, on the other hand, is backed by Turkey, who has sent around 2,000 paid warriors from Syria to the area. There are sources claiming that hundreds of thousands of Libyans are displaced.

At the meeting held in Moscow, with Putin and Erdogan as the driving force, it seemed a deal was close but Haftar left the negotiating table without signing an agreement. Following, Haftar’s withdrawal from the negotiations, he ordered all oil production in LNA territory, nearly half of the country’s output, to be stopped. The oil refining stoppage amounts to roughly 800 barrels a day and represents a powerful blow to al-Sarraj’s government.

Haftar, in parallel with the ceasefire talks, and in the wake of a legally dubious maritime border agreement between al-Sarraj’s government and Turkey, has found a new ally in Greece, which has been a fierce adversary of Turkey since the invasion of Cyprus in the 1970s. Turkey has once again threatened the region if it is not allowed to drill for gas and oil in the Mediterranean.

Minor progress had been made by the end of yesterday with world leader’s agreeing to several points to help solidify a tentative ceasefire, however substantive progress was still elusive with foreign arms and fighters still flooding into the country.