Berlin Conference: Closing oil export pipelines with the launch of the conference

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Opening of the conference

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ODD ANDERSEN

The conflicting parties in Libya arrived to meet with international powers in Berlin today in an attempt to reach a cease-fire in order to stop the civil war taking place there after the collapse of a previous truce.

Libyan media supporting the National Accord government reported that the two conflicting parties have avoided direct talks so far.

The two conflicting parties are General Khalifa Haftar and the United Nations-backed government in the capital, Tripoli.

The Libyan television station, Al-Ahrar, said it had learned that representatives of the National Accord government had refused to sit with

Hifter or meet him in any of the conference sessions.

The conference seeks to extract a pledge from international powers to abide by a United Nations resolution that prohibits the supply of arms to the conflicting parties.

The forces loyal to General Haftar closed the main ports to the export of oil, which is the main source of state revenues.

It was reported that Haftar’s forces shut down oil export pipelines in Libya during the conference.

“The Libyan people have suffered enough, and it is time for the country to move forward,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is attending the conference.

The head of the internationally recognized Libyan National Accord government, Fayez al-Sarraj, called for the deployment of an “international protection force” in Libya, in the event that the forces of eastern Libya led by Haftar resume hostilities.

Syria again

The conference started with the participation of the parties to the conflict in Libya and international actors to press for an end to the fighting that has taken place in Libya for years, amid warnings of the dangers of Libya turning into Syria again.

Germany and the United Nations hope to persuade Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt to press the two sides to agree to a permanent armistice in Tripoli, the seat of the internationally recognized government.

The draft final statement of the conference, according to Reuters news agency, calls on all parties to refrain from hostilities against oil installations.

The draft also recognizes the Libyan National Oil Corporation in Tripoli as the only legal entity allowed to sell Libyan oil. The draft will be discussed during the summit.

The conference, attended by Haftar and Al-Sarraj, will be attended by the presidents of Russia, Turkey, Egypt and the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates. These states support the conflicting parties in Libya, while the United Nations seeks to stop the flow of arms and foreign forces into Libya.

The conference, which US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and European leaders will attend, will not seek to conclude a power-sharing agreement between Haftar and al-Sarraj but rather will focus on a permanent ceasefire to relaunch the talks.

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Getty Images

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Head of the internationally recognized Libyan Al-Wefaq government, Fayez al-Sarraj, to deploy an “International Protection Force” in Libya

“We consider the Berlin summit an important step on the road to strengthening the cease-fire and a political solution,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters before leaving for the conference.

He added that progress in peace efforts after the January ceasefire “should not be sacrificed for the aspirations of blood and chaos merchants.”

Morocco criticized its exclusion from the Berlin conference, stressing that it is “at the forefront of countries seeking to settle the Libyan crisis.”

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Getty Images

Image caption

Germany and the United Nations hope to persuade the parties to the conflict to agree to a permanent armistice in Tripoli, the seat of government

Stop the interventions

Ghassan Salama, the international special envoy to Libya, called in a television interview to stop all foreign interference in Libya.

Erdogan, however, warned that the fall of the reconciliation government in Tripoli would mean that “terrorism” would gain a foothold to move to Europe.

Egypt called for the necessity of stopping the flow of militants and “mercenaries” to Libya, stressing that the “Libyan army” led by Haftar is the only legitimate legal force in Libya, and that “the militias affiliated with the head of the reconciliation government, Fayez al-Sarraj are not legitimate.”

These efforts come after nine months of battles between Haftar’s forces and the Al-Sarraj government, as forces began a military campaign last April aimed at controlling the capital, Tripoli, the seat of the National Accord government.

A truce was reached at the beginning of this month between the two parties, but it soon became that each party accused the other of responsibility for breaching the agreement. Another attempt to reach a permanent cease-fire failed during a meeting in Moscow last week.

Libya has suffered from civil war since the 2011 uprising that toppled Libyan President Colonel Muammar Gaddafi

Haftar controls most of eastern Libya, after its forces recently took control of Sirte, the third largest Libyan city.

According to UN data, the fighting there has claimed hundreds of lives and has left thousands homeless.

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