German Foreign Minister Heads to Libya to Meet Khalifa Haftar

  • “Our message is clear: no one can win this conflict militarily,” Maas said before heading to Benghazi.
  • Maas will conduct the scheduled discussions with Haftar at the request of the European Union foreign ministers.
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel's announcement of the invitation to the conference preceded the failure of talks between the parties to the Libyan conflict in Russia.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas headed to Libya today to hold talks with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the so-called Libyan National Army. Maas’ visit takes place just three days before the planned Libyan summit in the German capital, Berlin.

Heiko Maas is a German politician who serves as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the fourth cabinet of Angela Merkel since March 14, 2018. He served as the Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection from December 17, 2013 to March 14, 2018.

“Our message is clear: no one can win this conflict militarily,” Maas said before heading to Benghazi, in northeastern Libya. “A window is now opening to free the conflict from the international influence and so open the way to a political process and inter-Libyan negotiations on a post-war order,” under U.N. supervision. “I hope that the parties will take this opportunity to put the future of Libya back in Libyan hands,” Maas added. “This now requires readiness for a real cease-fire and both parties’ participation in the dialogue formats proposed by the United Nations.”

Germany is counting, along with the European Union, on this summit to push the peace process in Libya, in order to prevent the outbreak of war, which is feared to make Libya a new Syria. Maas said that “for months, we have been negotiating how we can stem the deadly flow of arms and fighters from abroad. To reach an agreement on this matter, we will bring all relevant actors to the table on Sunday.”

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar is a dual Libyan-American citizen who is a military officer and the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), which, under Haftar’s leadership, replaced nine elected municipal councils by military administrators, and as of May 2019, was engaged in the Second Libyan Civil War.

The German Foreign Ministry stated that Maas will conduct the scheduled discussions with Haftar at the request of the European Union foreign ministers. On Wednesday, the German government announced that it has not yet confirmed with it the presence of the two poles of the conflict in Libya, represented by the Prime Minister of the recognized Libyan National Accord government, Fayez al-Sarraj. The German government announced that the meeting will be at the level of state leaders, after consulting with Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

A government statement confirmed that the meeting, to be held at the Chancellery’s headquarters, is part of the process launched by the United Nations to reach a “sovereign Libya,” and support “reconciliation efforts within Libya.” A source familiar with the talks said the goal of the meeting was to help Libya “solve its problems without external influences,” and “limit external interference.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s announcement of the invitation to the conference preceded the failure of talks between the parties to the Libyan conflict in Russia, where Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the so-called Libyan National Army, left Moscow without signing a ceasefire agreement. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Haftar took more time to think about the agreement as he continued to discuss the document with his allies for two days.

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Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.

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