Experts express skepticism over progress made at international conference on Libya

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Experts criticized both the apparent reluctance to treat Turkey’s military presence in Libya as a separate issue, as well as the audacity of other countries to demand the departure of Turkish troops, despite the support of their own mercenaries in Libya.

The second Berlin conference focused on the elections scheduled for later this year and the withdrawal of foreign troops and mercenaries from Libya [AFP via Getty]

The second international conference on Libya which ended on Wednesday failed to produce the tangible results needed to bring peace to the North African country, experts said.

The conference focused on elections scheduled for later this year and the withdrawal of foreign troops and mercenaries from Libya. The final declaration reaffirmed that the elections must take place on the scheduled date – December 24 – and urged the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries “without delay”.

Nebahat Taniverdi, visiting scholar at the Berlin-based Institute for International and Security Affairs, denounced the absence of a binding resolution emerging at the conference.

Talk to Anadolu Agency, she suggested that this risked turning the elections into an opportunity for Libya’s warring parties to establish hegemony over the country’s fragile politics, raising the possibility of a new conflict.

She also urged countries that do not officially recognize their presence in Libya to play an active role in the withdrawal of the fighters they sponsored.

This includes the United Arab Emirates, which sent mercenaries from countries like Sudan and Chad, as well as Russia, which sent mercenaries from Wagner – a private military contractor. They joined the fight alongside forces loyal to military strongman Khalifa Haftar, backed by Moscow and Abu Dhabi.

As for Turkey, its objection to the withdrawal of forces was due to the fact that they – according to Ankara – were in the country on the basis of an agreement reached with the Libyan government backed by the UN at the time, a explained Taniverdi.

Turkey’s intervention reportedly helped the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) turn the tide of the conflict in Libya, pushing back Haftar’s campaign to capture the capital.

This led to a ceasefire between rival governments in October, with the security situation in Libya gradually improving since then. The two administrations pulled back with the formation of the country’s current Government of National Unity (GNU) as part of a UN-backed process in March.

Taniverdi said that since Turkey’s objection to ending its military presence and activities was, in his view, based on “legitimacy and legal responsibility”, it was unfortunate that the issue “had no not assessed under a separate heading in the final declaration of the Berlin conference “.

Ahmed Sewelhi, a Libyan political analyst and activist, took a more critical line. He said the conference did not address a more pressing issue than the election: that of accountability.

“No one has done anything to bring accountability to alleged war crimes perpetrators,” he said. Haftar and his forces have been accused of multiple war crimes throughout the conflict in Libya.

“How can we believe that those who do nothing for accountability want to do something for the elections? “

His comments mirrored those of the Libyan Justice Advocate, who ahead of the conference urged all who “put human rights, accountability and the rule of law first.”

The NGO said in a press release that although there were positive developments after last year’s rally in the German capital, it fears it will not last.

“Flagrant violations of human rights and serious international crimes such as torture, enforced disappearances… and [the] smuggling and smuggling of migrants (…) continues to be committed across the country, “he added.

Quoted by Anadolu, Sewelhi pointed out the contradiction of autocratic regimes calling and guiding elections in Libya, such as Egypt.

He also called it “shameful” that Turkey was asked to end its military presence by countries that refused to recognize their own presence in the country, describing how Russian mercenaries Wagner occupied vast territories and towns in Libya. , including oil installations and surrounding ports. Sirte.

“It’s a shame and that’s why I don’t take Berlin seriously at all. If this conference can’t name who the forces are in Libya, how can they ask them to leave?” he said.


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