- Maas said that allies of the two sides of the conflict continued to supply them with weapons.
- “Only those who participate in a political process will be part of Libya’s future,” Maas added.
- The Turkish Ministry of Defense stated that Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Chief of Staff General Yasar Guler visited Tripoli yesterday.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned of what he called “deceptive calm” in Libya. Maas, who arrived in Libya on a surprise visit before heading to the United Arab Emirates, added that the process that began in Berlin remains the appropriate framework for resolving the conflict.
Maas said that allies of the two sides of the conflict continued to supply them with weapons. Maas’ surprise visit coincided with the arrival of the defense ministers of Turkey and Qatar to Libya. Maas has also supported calls for the creation of a demilitarized zone around Sirte.
“The United Arab Emirates is in a position to influence General Haftar, and we expect it to do so, in the spirit of the Berlin Process,” Maas said. “Only those who participate in a political process will be part of Libya’s future,” he added.
Maas also called in a joint press conference with his Libyan counterpart, Muhammad Sayala, to lift the blockade on the Libyan oil fields and to distribute wealth fairly, noting that the outcomes of the Berlin conference are the framework for resolving the conflict in Libya.
“For a long time we have been calling for the closure of the detention centers and the establishment of alternatives in urban regions,” he said. Maas called for “effective measures to finally combat human trafficking networks.”
In turn, the Libyan Foreign Minister affirmed that the way to build a democratic state is by agreement on a constitutional basis that paves the way for holding parliamentary and presidential elections.
Maas, who is then scheduled to travel to the UAE, added that he expects a “positive signal” from the Gulf state regarding Libya, given its influence over the strongman in eastern Libya, General Khalifa Haftar.
Turkish and Qatari Officials in Tripoli
Meanwhile, the Turkish Ministry of Defense stated that Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Chief of Staff General Yasar Guler visited Tripoli yesterday to “follow up operations” under the military cooperation agreement with Libya. Qatari Defense Minister Khaled Al-Attiyah, accompanied by a high-ranking delegation, also arrived in the Libyan capital.
Turkey and Russia have emerged as the two main influential powers in the Libyan conflict, with the strengthening of battlefronts in recent weeks around the central towns of Sirte and Jufra. Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone about Libya.
Turkey provided crucial military support to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, to help it repel a 14-month offensive by General Haftar’s forces stationed in eastern Libya earlier this year.
Libya has been divided since 2014 between factions based in the east of the country and others in the west, which have the support of various regional parties. While Turkey and its regional ally Qatar support the reconciliation government, eastern Libyan forces (the Libyan National Army) led by Khalifa Haftar have received support from the UAE, Egypt, and Russia.
Turkey signed a military agreement with the Government of National Accord late last year, as well as a memorandum of understanding regarding the maritime borders, which angered its opponents in the eastern Mediterranean.