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Iran Press TV

No military solution to Libyan conflict: Germany's Merkel

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 10 March 2020 6:13 PM

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says there is no military solution to the conflict in war-torn Libya, stressing that an immediate ceasefire is necessary for a political process to continue.

"The chancellor has reaffirmed that there can be no military solution to this conflict, and therefore it is necessary to achieve a ceasefire and progress for a political process in line with the conclusions of the Berlin Conference," said Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert in a written statement on Tuesday.

The statement came shortly after the conclusion of a meeting between the German chancellor and Libya's rebel leader, Khalifa Haftar, in the capital, Berlin.

Since 2014, two rival seats of power have emerged in the North African country: the internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and another group based in the eastern city of Tobruk, supported militarily by rebel forces under the command of Haftar.

The rebel leader, who is primarily supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Jordan, launched a deadly offensive to capture the capital, Tripoli, in April last year. Despite intense fighting, he has so far failed to achieve his objective of ousting the government, and the offensive has stalled outside the city.

Numerous attempts to bring about peace between the two sides of the conflict have failed, except for a shaky ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey in January, which has been violated dozens of times but continues to stand in one way or another.

Back in January and in an attempt to help establish a permanent ceasefire in Libya, Merkel hosted a multinational summit involving concerned parties. Leaders and high-ranking officials from Turkey, Russia, Egypt, France, Italy, Britain, and the United States, as well as Haftar and Sarraj, attended the summit.

The final communiqué of the summit called on all the parties concerned in the conflict "to redouble their efforts for a sustained suspension of hostilities, de-escalation and a permanent ceasefire." Participants also pledged not to interfere in Libya's internal affairs and its conflict and agreed to "fully respect" the arms embargo imposed on the North African country by the United Nations (UN) in 2011.

However, Haftar refused to sign the joint communiqué.

The situation in Libya has been compounded as a result of a move by Turkey, an ally of Sarraj's government, to deploy troops and transfer allied militants from Syria to the North African country.

On Monday, Haftar visited Paris and held a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. There, Haftar claimed he would commit to a truce with the government as long as ragtag forces fighting to protect the government pledged to honor it as well.

Haftar "assured that he was ready to sign the ceasefire document, but this commitment would end if the militias do not respect it," an Elysee Palace official said after the one-hour meeting, which was not announced on the French president's agenda.

Libya plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

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