Paolo Gentiloni VIDEO ©EP European Union
Joseph Borrell, eu High Representative of the European Union for Common Foreign and Security Policy - Photo Copyright ©EU Parliament 2020.
Civil war in Libya is worsening with recent attack on UN backed Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj in Tripoli, where on Saturday 5 January an airstrike on a military academy killed 30 people.
The Government of National Accord (GNA) is losing ground in strategic coastal city of Sirte while the external intervention of Turkey in the civil war is rising international concerns..
While Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio is flying to Tripoli (source state TV RAI) Russia and Turkey will meed this week: Putin and Erdogan back opposite sides in Libya, but they might find a convenient agreement to part respective influence in the NOrth African country which has the largest Africa's oil reserves.
Brussels, 7 Jan 2020 - Urgent meeting of ministers of foreign affairs in Brussels today after a deadly strike in Libya where conflict is worsening. Recently Turkey sent its army in support of the UN-backed Government of National Accord, led by the prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, which is under attack from Libyan National Army rebel forces led by Gen Khalifa Haftar, backed by the United Arab Emirates and Russia.
The EU calls for a strict respect of the arms embargo declared by United Nations and is addressing Turkey intervention in order to prevent dangerous interference in the conflict.
The contingency of the Iran-Iraq crisis is also mounting pressure at EU level.
“The EU is of the firm conviction that there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis and that a protracted conflict will only bring more misery to ordinary people, exacerbate divisions, increase the risk of partition, spread instability across the region and aggravate the threat of terrorism”, said EU Foreign Policy chief Joseph Borrell in a joint statement with British Dominic Raab, Italian Luigi Di Maio, French Jean-Yves Le Drian and German Heiko Maas after the meeting.
The foreign ministers expressed their concern addressing the “worrying recent military escalation in Libya" and also in view of the Foreign Affairs Council scheduled next Friday. After the meeting Borrell said that Turkey's decision to send military to Libya grows EU's concerns.
Borrell and Foreign ministers are asking “immediate cessation of hostilities” and reiterate their “commitment to immediately halt the fighting around Tripoli and elsewhere and to discuss how the EU can further contribute to the UN mediation and to a swift return to political negotiations”.
“All the members of the international community need to strictly respect and enforce the UN arms embargo ministers" they say in a joint communique making clear that “continuing outside interference is fuelling the crisis. The more the Libyan warrying parties rely on foreign military assistance, the more they give external actors undue influence on sovereign Libyan decisions, to the detriment of the country's national interests and of regional stability”.
Borrell along with the foreign ministers, stressed "the necessity to avoid unilateral actions such as the signing of agreements which further exacerbate the conflict or actions which create a pretext for external interference that are contrary to the interests of the Libyan people, as well as to European interests, as underlined by the European Council conclusions of 12 December 2019.”
“The Berlin process and the UN mediation efforts put the needs of all Libyans to the forefront and suggest sustainable solutions to core issues such as unifying institutions, distributing the country’s wealth equitably, and outlining a realistic roadmap towards a political settlement”.
“We urge all Libyan parties to sincerely embrace these UN-led efforts and to return to negotiations. The EU will continue to support the UN mediation and will help implementing any decisions that may be taken in Berlin”.
After the meeting in Brussels EU Foreign Policy chief said “we have not travelled to Libya as expected due to the security situation there. We were strongly advised not to do this travel".
“Libya is a priority for the European Union and we will be actively engaged with all relevant actors in our efforts to stop the hostilities and achieve the resumption of a political dialogue. We know that the situation is worsening day by day and the only solution in Libya, once again we have to repeat it, has to be a political negotiation among the parts. There is no military solution”, he concluded in a separate personal statement.