Ger­many to host meet to sort out Libya mess

Khaleej Times - - FRONT PAGE - PEACE EF­FORTS

ber­lin — Ber­lin will host world lead­ers for a UN-spon­sored sum­mit on the con­flict in Libya on Sun­day, the Ger­man govern­ment con­firmed on Tues­day. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 11 coun­tries — in­clud­ing the US, Rus­sia, France, China and Turkey — have been in­vited for the talks.

It re­mained un­clear whether the lead­ers of the two war­ring fac­tions, the in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised Prime Min­is­ter Fayez Al Sar­raj and rebel strong­man Gen­eral Khal­ifa Haf­tar, would at­tend. Both have been in­vited. “The aim of this process is... to sup­port the ef­forts of the UN for a sov­er­eign Libya and for the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process within Libya,” Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s of­fice said. There had al­ready been “sev­eral rounds of talks on Libya among high level of­fi­cials” in the Ger­man cap­i­tal in re­cent months, it said. —

moscow — Rus­sia sought on Tues­day to down­play the col­lapse of talks that sought to se­cure a cease-fire in Libya af­ter the coun­try’s ri­val lead­ers left Moscow with­out reach­ing an agree­ment, an out­come that cast a shadow on an up­com­ing Libya sum­mit hosted by Ger­many.

Rus­sia and Turkey pro­posed a cease-fire last week in hopes of bring­ing an end to the coun­try’s long-run­ning civil war. Fayez Sar­raj, the head of Libya’s UN-recog­nised govern­ment in Tripoli, and Gen. Khal­ifa Haf­tar, came to Moscow on Mon­day for talks with Rus­sian and Turk­ish diplo­mats and mil­i­tary of­fi­cials.

Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergey Lavrov sought to down­play the talks’ fail­ure, say­ing that ef­forts to bro­ker a peace deal will con­tinue.

“We all work in the same di­rec­tion and urge all the sides (of the con­flict) in Libya to ne­go­ti­ate in­stead of try­ing to sort things out vi­o­lently,” Lavrov said on Tues­day in Sri Lanka.

Rus­sia’s De­fence Min­istry put out a state­ment say­ing that Gen. Haf­tar could still sign the pro­posed draft, but he needed some ex­tra time to dis­cuss it with his as­so­ci­ates.

“Mar­shal Haf­tar had a pos­i­tive view of the fi­nal state­ment, but re­quested two days to dis­cuss the document with the tribal lead­ers be­fore sign­ing it,” it said. —

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