UAE 'positive' over Libya peace prospects after Berlin conference

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash tweets support for political process

Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash speaks to journalists in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, June 18, 2018. The UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition fighting against Shiite rebels for control of Yemen's port city of Hodeida. Gargash said Monday that the battle for Hodeida is aimed at forcing the country’s Shiite rebels into negotiating an end to a yearslong war. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, says he is optimistic about the prospects of bringing peace to Libya, after top diplomats met in Berlin as part of continuing UN-backed talks.

"We are witnessing many positive initiatives in support of the process," Dr Gargash tweeted.

"Led by the United Nations in Libya, the UAE is working with the international community to support a political roadmap to ensure the unity and stability of brotherly Libya through a comprehensive and sustainable solution."

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also voiced "cautious optimism" over efforts to end the conflict, which have been given added impetus by the talks in recent weeks.

"We believe that there is now a window in which much has become possible that was not possible before," Mr Maas said. "I think we must seize that."

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was among the assembled statesmen and has been "encouraged to witness a lull in the fighting".

Libya has been racked by conflict since the overthrow and killing of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, with rival factions and militias vying for control.

UN-backed talks fuel hopes of rapprochement  

But there has been increased hope since the two main warring factions announced in August that they would cease fighting.

The rivals were brought together in Berlin in January but attempts to impose a ceasefire and arms embargo largely failed for months.

Mr Guterres said on Monday that the commitments made in Berlin had to be upheld, including "full and unconditional implementation of the Security Council arms embargo".

"The violations of the embargo are a scandal and call into question the basic commitment to peace of all involved," he said.

The two main factions are based around the Government of National Accord in Tripoli and the House of Representives parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk.

Eastern commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on Tripoli and the militias it employs to defend it in April 2019.

But it has been beaten back by the GNA with military support from Turkey, which provided weapons, trainers and Syrian mercenaries, despite much international condemnation.

The head of the GNA, Fayez Al Sarraj, has said he would step down by the end of this month as part of efforts to broker a peace agreement, and both sides have called for national elections.

Talks in Morocco last month brought together five members of the Tripoli-based GNA and five from the House of Representatives.

Two days of talks in Egypt between representatives of Libya's rival administrations in late September paved the way for more face-to-face discussions.

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said the international community wanted to help Libya "chart a path to peace".