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Berlin Conference: Agreement final draft almost ready

Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar [AP]
Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar [AP], 28 January 2020

The final draft of the agreement to be discussed at the Berlin Conference, which will be held this Sunday, is almost ready according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, which expressed regret over the parties of the conflict’s refusal to meet with one another.

Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, announced in a press conference: “The final draft of the accord, in my opinion, is almost finalised… and it fully respects the UN Security Council resolutions on Libya.”

Lavrov did not specify the content of the draft, however, he warned against excessive optimism regarding the situation, despite commitment to the ceasefire, engineered by the Russian and Turkish presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, since 12 January.

He pointed out that relations between the two main warring parties – head of the Tripoli government, Fayez Al-Sarraj, and the leader of the Libyan National Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar – who have been fighting each other for months on the outskirts of the capital, are still “very tense”. “They don’t even want to be in the same room,” Lavrov disclosed.

READ: Haftar and Sarraj to participate in Berlin Conference, Greece upset

The Russian foreign minister, who will be present in Berlin on Sunday, added: “The most important thing now before the Berlin Conference… is that the Libyan parties do not repeat the mistakes of the past, by proposing new conditions and exchanging accusations.”

The main objective of the Berlin Conference is to stabilise the armistice and prevent external interference in Libya, especially through military support.

In a sign of the ongoing tension, Haftar left Moscow last Sunday without signing the ceasefire agreement, as Al-Sarraj did. The seven-hour negotiations took place through Russian and Turkish mediators, as the two leaders refused to communicate directly.

Libya, possessing the most important oil reserves in Africa, has been experiencing violence and struggles over power since the death of Muammar Gaddafi and the fall of his regime in 2011, following a popular revolution and a military intervention led by France, Britain and the US.

Ankara has been supporting Al-Sarraj by deploying its troops in Libya, while Russia is suspected of supporting Haftar with arms, funds and mercenaries, despite its official denial of such allegations.

READ: Why Haftar refused to sign the Moscow ceasefire document

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