The international conference convened in Berlin on Sunday is a concerted effort to find a way forward for Libya, one that will bring a cessation to hostilities and explore avenues to end the long-running conflict there. Libya, since the revolt and overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, has descended into violence, where competing factions and militias seek to hold sway across the nation of 6.7 million.
The cycle of violence in Libya has created a volatile situation, one in which long-term peace and stability are undermined by non-Arab external forces intent on exerting influence there, with Turkey’s recent troop deployment to support the Tripoli-based elements in the west of the country making a complex situation even more so.
Certainly, the Berlin conference is a clear statement that Libya requires a political solution, not one based on bullets. Organised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the meeting follows on the heels of a gathering last week in Moscow, where Russian President Vladimir Putin attempted to have both main factions formally agree to the terms of a ceasefire agreement. Those Moscow efforts did not result in a breakthrough but provided enough grounds for Sunday’s summit to take place and build on those efforts.
The Berlin and Moscow initiatives are vital to resolving the crisis in Libya, strengthening its pillars of state and are key to stopping the inflow of terrorists into Libya.
The reality now is that the only way forward is to remove the gun from Libyan politics once and for all. That means having militias stand down and engage politically. Germany, as an honest broker to these talks, has the full support of the UAE in trying to reach a political agreement for Libya, one that strengthens Arab security and maintains stability in the Mediterranean. As a prelude to any solution, Ankara must withdraw its troops across the Mediterranean from Libya.
The presence of non-Arab forces in Libya serves only to disrupt and destabilise it further, thwarting the Libyan people from fulfilling their own aspirations for peace, unity, reconciliation and development. The Berlin meeting provides the impetus for constructive dialogue and achieving peace and security in Libya.
The Berlin and Moscow initiatives are vital to resolving the crisis in Libya, strengthening its pillars of state and are key to stopping the inflow of terrorists into Libya. Similar efforts will help the people of Libya and support their legitimate aspirations for stability and prosperity.
For the past nine years, Libyans have lived and died by differences and divisions. Now is the time to build a real future, one benefiting all Libyans.