France, Germany and Italy renew calls for immediate ceasefire in Libya

EU’s largest economies call for foreign powers to respect arms embargo on the North African country

A Libyan street vendor sells corn on the roadside by the waterfront promenade in the eastern port city of Benghazi on June 22, 2020.  / AFP / Abdullah DOMA
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France, Germany and Italy have decried ongoing violence in Libya calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in the country.

In a joint statement the three European nations called on all actors in the country’s bitter civil war to end the ongoing military build-up and respect the country’s long-standing but often flouted arms embargo.

They also called for a swift conclusion of UN-backed negotiations for a ceasefire in Libya and reiterated their support for all efforts towards resolution of the conflict including a June 6 road map for peace presented by Egypt.

“Any initiative in support of a ceasefire agreement and of negotiated political settlement of the Libyan crisis must be fully inclusive and be firmly anchored to the architecture of the Berlin Process, which remains the only viable framework,” the statement read.

Libya has been plagued by violence and instability since the 2011 revolution and Nato-backed intervention that toppled the country’s 42-year dictator, Muammar Qaddafi. In 2014 Libya was plunged into a civil war which pitted eastern and western factions against one another.


In recent weeks the conflict in Libya has drawn in regional and global players with renewed vigour after a series of quick victories by the Turkey-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in the capital, Tripoli.

Following a months-long military build-up, Ankara succeeded in turning the tide of the country’s civil war, providing air support and thousands of mercenary fighters to end an offensive by the Libyan National Army (LNA) commander, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, on Tripoli.

Now the focus of the Libyan conflict has shifted to the central coastal town of Sirte and the resource-rich oil crescent beyond. Egypt, which had called for a ceasefire earlier in the month, has subsequently said it would intervene in Libya if GNA-forces attacked Sirte.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s declaration that Sirte constituted a “red line” for Cairo was followed by calls from the Arab League for a fresh truce.

European diplomatic efforts have continued at pace in recent weeks with German and Italian officials meeting leading figures from Libya’s rival factions. However, with Turkey giving its full backing to the GNA and Russia supporting the LNA, Italy, France and Germany as well as Britain and the United States have largely been left to look on as Ankara and Moscow have the become the principal geopolitical forces in the country.

A handout picture released by the Egyptian Presidency on June 6, 2020 shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C), Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar (R) and the Libyan Parliament speaker Aguila Saleh (L) taking part in a joint press conference in the capital Cairo.  Haftar has backed a ceasefire in Libya starting Monday, Egypt's president announced after talks in Cairo, following a series of military victories by the country's UN-recognised government. - === RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HO / EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ==

Germany had sought to seize the initiative in Libya, hosting the Berlin Conference on Libya in January. However, the meeting of world powers failed to build upon a tentative truce brokered by Russia and Turkey that has since been replaced by escalating violence.