Traditional international actors in competition with Russia and Turkey on the Libya file
The fact that Turkey and Russia were able to pressure their respective Libyan clients into agreeing to the ceasefire and significantly reducing military engagement on the Tripoli frontlines highlights the increasingly dominant role that these two countries are playing in the ‘Libya file’, overshadowing the roles of Italy and France who were previously two key interlocuters for the opposing sides. In particular it seems it was Russian pressure which finally convinced Haftar to agree to the ceasefire, with Cavusoglu stating on 11 January that, “We are waiting for our Russian friends to succeed in convincing Haftar.”
Internationally, Europe and the US have been playing catch up to the unexpected Turkey-Russia mediation with Italy in a particular trying to reassert itself as a mediator. On 14 January, Germany announced the Berlin conference would be held on 19 January with the following participants: USA, Russia, Great Britain, France, China, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Republic of the Congo, Italy, Egypt, Algeria, as well as the UN, the EU, the AU and the Arab League. Serraj and Haftar are also invited to Berlin. The UN and Germany will hope to use the fragile ceasefire as a starting point for Berlin, but the tensions between the international actors are as divisive and complex as ever. As such, the most realistic best-case outcome for the Berlin conference is gathering the rival internationals together in one place and eliciting some sort of loose agreement to continue towards a political solution.