Germanys Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed to hold an international conference in Berlin, Germany, with both Libyan parties to resolve the crisis in Libya when meeting with Russias President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia, on Jan. 11 to discuss the conflict in war-torn Libya.
Putin supported Germanys proposal, saying, “The Berlin conference needs to ensure attendance of those states that are truly determined to help resolve the Libya crisis, [and] … its decisions should be negotiated in a preliminary plan with the Libyan parties.”
Germany plans to hold a summit aimed to achieve peace in Libya on Jan. 19, the two participants in the preparatory negotiations said on Jan.13, according to Reuters.
On Jan. 13, Libyas two rival leaders were in Moscow for talks jointly mediated by Russia and Turkey with a goal of bringing an end to the countrys long-running civil war.
Fayez Sarraj, the head of Libyas UN–recognized government in Tripoli, and his rival Khalifa Hifter came for talks with top diplomats and military officials from Russia and Turkey. The talks were held behind closed doors, and it wasnt immediately clear whether Sarraj and Hifter will meet directly.
The two mediating countries back the opposing Libyan governments. Turkey supports the Tripoli government led by Sarraj, which has faced an offensive by Hifters forces.
Russia has maintained contacts with both conflicting parties in Libya. Still, the government in Tripoli has recently claimed that Russian military contractors from a Russian company connected to a Putin ally have been fighting alongside Hifter.
Putin said on Jan. 11 when answering a question about private security companies in Libya: “that if any Russians are fighting there, they do not represent the interests of the Russian state and do not receive any money from the Russian state.”
Putin noted that mercenaries were sent to Libya from Syrias rebel-held province of Idlib alongside Turkeys border, voicing hope that a lasting truce will help end the deployment of foreign fighters to Libya.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this month that his country was sending military personnel to Libya to support Sarrajs government. Sarraj visited Istanbul for talks with Erdogan on Jan. 12 before heading to Moscow.
Russia and Turkey proposed a ceasefire in Libya that began on Jan. 12; however, there were immediate reports of violations by both sides.
The European Union Council of foreign ministers recommended at an extraordinary meeting on Jan. 10, to avoid further uncontrolled escalation of the Libyan crisis and it “gave a mandate to the EUs High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, to engage with all actors with the objective of moving towards a political solution in the framework of the Berlin Process and the UN–led mediated efforts,” according to a statement.
Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline
Merkel and Putin also discussed the efforts to complete Nord Stream 2—a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea running directly from Russias state-owned Gazprom to Germany.
The United States sanctioned Russia over its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as a part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which President Donald Trump signed on Dec. 20.