Germany concerned over escalation of tensions in Libya

Heiko Maas

GERMANY says it is concerned over the recent escalation of tensions in Libya and is seeking a long-term political settlement of the conflict.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said this following consultation with his French and Italian counterparts, as well as European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

The situation in Libya escalated on April 13 when the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) said that it had launched a rapid offensive west of the country’s capital and taken control over the cities of Sabratah and Surman.

A day later, an official from the GNA’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Sputnik that Tripoli-based forces had captured the coastal area from the city of Misrata, located to the east of the capital, to the city of Zuwara close to the Tunisian border.

In late April, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who is heading the Libyan National Army (LNA), announced that LNA was quitting the Skhirat agreement, which had led to the formation of the UN-backed GNA.

He also said that LNA was now taking control of the country. “We are witnessing the escalation of hostilities in Libya with concern.

“We are especially condemning the recent attacks on the downtown and airport of Tripoli, and the increase in the number of civilian victims.

“Instead of finally supporting the cessation of hostilities, the parties to the conflict are still mistakenly sure that the conflict may be won by military means.

“International supporters of both parties are contributing to that via ongoing violations of the UN embargo on arms supplies,” Maas said late on Thursday.

The German foreign minister stressed that Berlin’s main goal was still to reach a stable ceasefire, a political solution that would involve all groups of the Libyan people, and to preserve the territorial integrity of the North African nation.

“To reach that, it is very important to ensure the resumption of work of the intra-Libyan formats of dialogue, which are a part of the Berlin (settlement) process headed by the UNSMIL (United Nations Support Mission in Libya),” Maas said.

He added that Germany wanted the United Nations to appoint a new special envoy for Libya as soon as possible.

Libya has been torn apart between two rival governments since the U.S.-supported the overthrow and assassination of the country’s long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The western part of the country, including the capital of Tripoli, is controlled by the UN-backed GNA, while the eastern by the Tobruk-based parliament that is supported by the LNA. (Sputnik/NAN)

– May 15, 2020 @ 12:39 GMT |

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