Berlin Conference on Libya delayed as UN Special Envoy Salame calls for action not words
The planned “Berlin Conference” on Libya will be delayed until at least November, or even as late as early 2020 according to some reports, despite originally being slated for this October. Germany is now looking to hold a pre conference meeting with international states involved with the Libya crisis, excluding Libyan actors. The precise cause for the delay is unclear, though both domestic and international actors have been digging in their heels and setting uncompromising conditions for their attendance – often requiring the exclusion of others.
On 11 October, the UN Envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, said he remained hopeful that the Berlin Conference would lead to a UN Security Council resolution preventing foreign countries from escalating the crisis in Libya through a proxy war, as well as the implementation of mechanisms to enforce the arms embargo. In an interview he added that the countries where those weapons are produced or bought should commit publicly to stop any transfer of arms to Libya
International momentum towards a peace process in Libya appears to have stalled as a result of international actors and their domestic clients insisting on setting unhelpful and often unachievable terms for their participation. In addition, while the international drivers of the Libyan conflict are significant and justify an international focus to the talks, the prospect of holding a Libya conference without the presence of any Libyan actors could undermine the conference’s integrity, particularly among Libyans. This in turn would undermine the chances of converting any international agreement into a political agreement on the ground in Libya. While Salame and other actors are undoubtedly working as best they can to bring about productive talks, there is little indication at present that the actors (foreign and Libyan) responsible for the worst of the destructive, partisan behaviour in Libya are serious about changing their approaches.