Russia and Turkey seize the diplomatic initiative in Libya at the expense of the U.S. and the EU
On Monday, Mr. Putin arranged a summit in Moscow that brought together the two sides in the war, which has pitted General Khalifa Haftar, leader of the eastern-based Libyan National Army, against the United Nations-backed government in Tripoli, led by Fayez al-Sarraj.The two men were to attend the short meeting, a prelude to a weekend conference in Berlin, to forge a lasting peace agreement and set a timetable for national elections.Late in the day, various reports said Mr. al-Sarraj had endorsed the ceasefire but that Gen. Haftar did not meet with him and asked for more time to consider the truce. “Today we can report that some progress was made,” Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters.Italy and France have fumbled efforts to bring the warring factions together and end a civil war that has raged virtually non-stop since 2011Lack of direction from the UN and Washington widened the diplomatic hole.In a tweet, Emadeddin Badi, a scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington and a fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, said the “facts of the matter are Turkey and Russia jointly called for a ceasefire – which worked. … This after 10 months of EU/U.S. idly watching Libya. … Humiliating is an understatement.”
The ceasefire came into force on Sunday, opening the door to a diplomatic initiative that may bring the country together so it can begin reconstruction, develop its oil and gas industry – Libya is home to Africa’s biggest known oil reserves – and put an end to the human trafficking from Libyan shores that has sent thousands of migrants to their deaths in the Mediterranean.
The U.S. has shown little interest in untangling the mess in Libya. (disagree with that)
|Conte (Italy) and Erdogan|
Italy was Libya’s colonial master until the end of the Second World War and has been its biggest foreign investor since then. Eni, the Italian national oil company, pumped more than 300,000 barrels a day in Libya in 2018 and operates a natural gas pipeline between Libya and Sicily. France’s Total, one of the world’s biggest oil companies, is also a top producer there and is keen to expand its operations.Turkey, Italy Seek ‘Permanent Ceasefire’ in Libya
In a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Ankara on Monday, Erdogan said: “We are exerting efforts for the ceasefire to be permanent.”
Turkey has a lot to gain by saving the official government and pushing it into a peace agreement with Gen. Haftar and his allies. In November, Ankara and Tripoli signed a maritime border agreement that, if it sticks, would give Turkey a big say in the exploration of the hydrocarbon-rich eastern Mediterranean.
Haftar leaves Russia without signing peace deal
The Libyan military strongman Gen Khalifa Haftar has left Moscow without signing a ceasefire agreement with the UN-backed Libyan government, the Russian foreign ministry has confirmed.Interestingly: Libyan rebels lobbied US energy officials, GOP lawmakers amid oil dispute
Russian and Turkish intermediaries spent Monday trying to persuade Gen Haftar and the Libyan Prime Minister, Fayez al-Serraj, to end nine-months of fighting in Libya.
Mr Serraj signed but Gen Haftar asked for a delay until Tuesday morning so that he could look over details of the proposed truce.