Berlin summit on Libya conflict: What did world powers agree?

Key foreign actors commit to limiting external interference as part of plan to end Libya’s war.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and participants of the International Libya Conference pose for a family picture in Berlin, Germany, 19 January 2020. By means of the ''Berlin Process'', German governmen
The document is due to be put forward as a UN Security Council resolution [EPA]

World powers held a high-stakes summit in Berlin on Sunday to discuss the way forward to end the conflict in Libya.

Leaders and officials from Turkey, Russia, Egypt, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States attended the gathering in the German capital, while representatives from the UAE, Algeria, China, the Republic of the Congo, the United Nations, European Union and African Union were also present.

Renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar and his rival, Fayez al-Sarraj, who leads the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, attended the summit but did not participate.

Haftar, who is backed by a rival administration based in eastern Libya, launched a military offensive on Tripoli in April which has since stalled. Some foreign powers had upped their support to the warring factions in an attempt to break the deadlock, but in Berlin, world leaders agreed on a joint course of action to de-escalate the conflict.

Here are the main points they agreed on their final communique, to be put forward as a UN Security Council resolution. 

End to foreign interference        

The Berlin participants “commit to refraining from interference in the armed conflict or in the internal affairs of Libya” and urge all international actors “to do the same”.

UN arms embargo

The participants “commit to unequivocally and fully respect and implement the arms embargo” established by the UN in 2011 but frequently violated, and “call on all international actors to do the same”.    

“We call on all actors to refrain from any activities exacerbating the conflict … including the financing of military capabilities or the recruitment of mercenaries,” the text adds.

The document also asks UN experts to monitor and investigate any breaches of the arms embargo “on a continuous basis” and called all actors to enforce UNSC sanctions against those found to be in breach of the embargo.


The signatories to the final statement “call on all parties concerned to redouble their efforts for a sustained suspension of hostilities, de-escalation and a permanent ceasefire”.    


They also urge “the redeployment of heavy weapons, artillery and aerial vehicles” and an end to all military movements by, or in direct support of, the conflict parties – throughout Libya and in its airspace, the text reads.

The participants invite the UN to establish “technical committees” to monitor the implementation of the truce.

They call on the UNSC “to impose appropriate sanctions on those who are found to be in violation of the ceasefire arrangements and on member states to enforce these”.

Dissolving militias

According to the text, the participants want to see “credible steps” towards “the dismantling of armed groups and militias” in Libya, whose members should then be integrated “into civilian, security and military state institutions”. The UN is asked to assist in the demobilisation process. 

The participants also call for the restoration of the monopoly of the state to the legitimate use of force. They support the establishment of unified Libyan national security, police and military forces under central, civilian authority, building upon the Cairo talks, and the documents produced therein.

Return to political process

The Berlin document urges “all Libyan parties to resume the inclusive Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process under the auspices of the UNSMIL [the UN Support Mission in Libya]” to reach an intra-Libyan solution.

The goal is to pave “the way to end the transitional period” through free, fair and credible parliamentary and presidential elections.

Human rights

The participants “urge all parties in Libya to fully respect international humanitarian law and human rights law”.    

They call for an “end to the practice of arbitrary detention” and urge the Libyan authorities to “gradually close the detention centres for migrants and asylum seekers”.          

Economy and oil

The participants stressed the importance of restoring and safeguarding the integrity of Libyan institutions, in particular the Central Bank of Libya and the National Oil Corporation (NOC).

They urge all parties to guarantee the security of the country’s crucial oil infrastructure, and reject “any illicit exploitation of its energy resources”.

Distribution of wealth

The document calls for transparent, accountable, fair and equitable distribution of public wealth and resources between different Libyan geographical areas, including through decentralisation and support for municipalities.

Strengthening of institutions


The agreement urges Libyan authorities to further strengthen “transitional justice institutions, including prosecution initiatives, reparations, truth-seeking and institutional reform, which should be in line with internationally recognised standards and principles”.

Follow-up talks

At a news conference announcing the communique, UN chief Antonio Guterres said al-Sarraj, the GNA head, and Haftar, had each appointed five military representatives to attend follow-up talks in Geneva “in the next few days”.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies