The Berlin Conference and Civil War in Libya

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Giovanni Sale, SJ

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The Berlin Conference on Libya, attended by representatives of 11 countries (mostly heads of government) and major international organizations, January 19, 2020, produced a joint declaration that supports the efforts of the United Nations for a lasting truce, for enforcement of the arms embargo and for the dismantling of militias supported by foreign powers who are fueling a “proxy war” in the country.

So far several points set out in the communiqué have not been acted upon. The truce, signed only by President al Fayez al-Sarraj, essentially still holds, although almost every day both sides attack each other.[1]

It is necessary for the warring parties and the major powers involved in the conflict to make concrete moves towards peace in order to implement the Berlin declarations. “If peace is not achieved as soon as possible,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, “chaos in Libya will affect the whole Mediterranean.”[2]

In order to understand this event, its strengths and also its weaknesses, it is necessary to take a step back and retrace the course of the war and diplomatic efforts of recent months.

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