November 28, 2023

ARCHIV - Der deutsche Außenminister Heiko Maas (SPD) hält nach dem Außenministertreffen des Berliner Prozesses (Westbalkan) eine Pressekonferenz im Außenministerium. Foto: Axel Schmidt/reuters-Pool/dpa Foto: Axel Schmidt/reuters-Pool/dpa

Before the Libya conference: Maas calls for the withdrawal of foreign fighters

In addition, parliamentary elections should be held on December 24, as planned. “In cooperation with the Libyan government and the United Nations, we will continue to work for this,” Maas said. The conference is held at the level of foreign ministers. Among the participants are the United States of America, Russia, China, Turkey and Egypt.

A year and a half ago, Germany and the United Nations invited countries involved in the Libyan conflict for the first time. Until then, the goal was to end outside interference in arms and mercenary deliveries. So far this has not worked. There has been progress elsewhere for this. Stability must now be pushed forward in Berlin.


After the overthrow of President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, a power struggle erupted in the oil-rich country between various political camps and allied militias. Prime Minister Fajs al-Sardash’s internationally recognized government competed with an opposition government allied to General Khalifa Haftar. Foreign powers fuel the conflict. A transitional government, formed under the auspices of the United Nations, has now replaced the two leaderships. You must lead Libya to elections. Militias and their mercenaries from abroad are still active.

Who confuses with?

Many Western countries and Turkey supported the Saradesh government. Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates sided with Haftar. It is also about economic interests. Turkey, for example, benefits from access to Libyan energy resources. The Turkish intervention halted an offensive launched by Haftar’s army in the spring of 2019.

Russia, in turn, wants to expand its influence in the Middle East and Africa – with diplomacy and perhaps also with military assistance. It is also suspected that Moscow wants to restore energy, military and infrastructure contracts worth billions.

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What did the first conference achieve?

At that time, the countries involved in the conflict committed themselves to ending interference in the form of arms and mercenary shipments. But this has not happened to this day. According to the latest UN estimates, there are still 20,000 foreign mercenaries in the country. Some believe that the first conference helped end the fighting. Others argue that the current ceasefire is not the result of diplomatic efforts, but simply an expression of the balance of power between the conflicting parties.

Why did Germany take the role of hosting?

There are two conflicts in which Germany plays the role of mediator: in eastern Ukraine and in Libya. The federal government decided to take on more responsibility internationally. The “Berlin Process” is a step towards meeting this requirement. But Germany also has specific interests: the main routes for refugees seeking their way across the Mediterranean to Europe are through Libya.

Who will participate in the second conference?

At least 16 countries. The United States and Turkey are there with Foreign Ministers Anthony Blinken and Molut Cavusoglu, Russia, on the other hand, only with the Deputy Foreign Minister and China even with only the ambassador. As well as: the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Tunisia, France, Italy and Great Britain. There is also the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and the League of Arab States. And last but not least: the Libyan Interim Government.

What can come?

The goal is to confirm the roadmap until the parliamentary elections. In addition, a commitment to non-interference is again expected. It is unclear how the withdrawal of foreign forces will be carried out. Nobody wants to take the first step.

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What are the chances for peace?

Tensions persisted between rival groups. There is great mistrust. Many fear that fighting will break out again. Haftar’s influence remains so strong that there can be no peace without him. The 77-year-old is only indirectly involved in the political process. It’s not in Berlin either. At the same time, many see the prospects for peace as better than they have been for a long time.