Libya: what comes next after the summit?

The participants at the Libya conference in Berlin on Sunday agreed to adhere to the weapons embargo of 2011 and to refrain from interfering in the North African country. Further measures aimed at establishing and enforcing a ceasefire are to be worked out with Prime Minister al-Sarraj and his opponent General Haftar. Commentators discuss what needs to be done for the plans to succeed.

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Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Still a minefield

To call the summit a "breakthrough" is an exaggeration, Hospodářské noviny comments:

“Ok, the door has opened somewhat, but behind it is a room full of anti-personnel mines. The first test will come at the end of the month when representatives of both the warring parties in Libya are to negotiate the form of the ceasefire. Will the paramilitary militias really be disarmed? Who will monitor the ceasefire? Will EU member states send soldiers? Germany too, which for historical reasons is always reluctant to send troops abroad? ... Of course, the security situation in Libya is so explosive that every attempt to calm things down and reach a conciliation must be given a chance. All the more so given that Germany - which has rarely been involved in solving global conflicts recently - organised the summit.”

Handelsblatt (DE) /

Oil is the key to peace

Ultimately, only a fair distribution of oil revenues can end the military logic that has prevailed so far, writes Handelsblatt:

“Because this civil war, which has been largely ignored by the global community for years, is primarily about oil. Russia, France, Turkey, Italy and others would hardly be interested in the conflict if there were not a jackpot of billions waiting at the end. ... Meanwhile General Haftar is trying to dry up the funding of the government in Tripoli by blocking the oil ports. ... The conflict can only be resolved if a fair solution is found to the oil issue. And in oil states, conflicts are always particularly bloody. The economy can now once again become the key to politics.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Double-dealing France

France is also to blame for the fact that the brutal power struggle in Libya was not ended in Berlin, Le Monde points out:

“The conflict is being fuelled not only by the regional powers' lust for geopolitical power and petroleum, but also by the ambiguity of countries like France. Officially it supports the Sarraj government but behind the scenes it backs General Haftar, who claims to be the only one who can pacify southern Libya. ... Thanks to the considerable support he is receiving, the rebel leader has thwarted international mediation attempts and is now threatening Tripoli. ... France would do well to stop this balancing act, which is which not practised by its European partners and thus weakens the position of the European Union.”

T24 (TR) /

A fortunate turn of events for Turkey

T24 is relieved that the conference in Berlin has put an end to Turkey's military operations in Libya:

“The end of foreign intervention in Libya and the subsequent decision to impose an arms embargo has saved Turkey from a risky adventure. ... Because the life of the legitimate government in Tripoli, which is backed by Turkey, has now been extended, and it is impossible to resolve the political uncertainty in Libya overnight, the Mediterranean agreement [signed by Erdoğan] with the al-Sarraj government seems guaranteed for the time being. Secondly, Turkey has secured a place at the negotiating table. ... Erdoğan's step [of sending troops to Libya], which could have ended disastrously from Turkey's point of view, has produced a positive result in an unexpected manner. ”

Badische Zeitung (DE) /

Danger of escalation averted for now

The German government can chalk up the summit as a complete success, writes the Badische Zeitung:

“Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Foreign Minister Heiko Maas have secured promising agreements for Libya from the conference participants - and made an impressive comeback on the world stage. ... Merkel and Maas have also made sure that the new optimism will not just be a flash in the pan for diplomacy. Of course this cannot be ruled out entirely. ... But the danger of a complete escalation of the war has been averted for the time being.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Who will oversee implementation of the deal?

Adevărul doubts whether the agreement can be enforced:

“The participating countries have every conceivable and legal means under the UN Charter at their disposal to impose an effective and immediate formula on these two insignificant actors, who are only kept in power thanks to external help. ... With 'external' clearly referring here to precisely those actors who are now sitting around the table at the peace talks and trying to put out a fire that they themselves started ... The agreement is nothing but the classic framework in which hundreds of such documents have already been adopted without the results ever being able to be measured against the noble goals - because the problem is who will oversee the implementation of all the good intentions in an environment that is still dominated by war.”

Capital (GR) /

This can't work

The web portal Capital doubts that the relevant parties have really reached an agreement in Berlin:

“The outcome reflects only the consensus of the international community, without any of the parties to the conflict in Libya being involved in the process and without any possibility of direct talks between them. ... This was precisely the point referred to by the experienced Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who described the Berlin conference as a small step forward. No ceasefire plan, no matter how elaborate it may be, can work if the parties that are directly involved in the conflict are not involved.”

La Croix (FR) /

Interference adds fuel to the fire

The conference could be a first step towards preventing international differences from being hashed out at the expense of the Libyan people, La Croix hopes:

“What we do not measure enough is how foreign interference continues to worsen all aspects of the conflict. … The quarrels that are simmering in the background are often far removed from the reality of the Libyan population - for instance those between the countries of the Persian Gulf, between Greece and Turkey, and even between France and Italy. One of the objectives of the UN-spearheaded conference in Berlin on Sunday was to put an end to such interference. ... For the good of the Libyans and for peace in the Mediterranean.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Haftar not interested in sharing power

In view of the conflicting agendas at the Berlin conference one shouldn't expect too much of the result, Der Standard warns:

“It's not to be expected that everything will suddenly change after Berlin. A case in point: on Saturday forces backing Haftar blocked oil-exporting ports, oil fields and pipelines in eastern and southern Libya. A good indication that economic power is also at stake. The fact that groups on the ground will try to demonstrate maximum strength in an effort to sway the negotiations is nothing new. But it must not be forgotten that Haftar's offensive on Tripoli was launched just before a planned national dialogue conference last April. He still does not give the impression that he's interested in sharing power.”