Libya war explained: Key players and affiliations | DW News
Russia and Turkey took over the settlement of the conflict in Libya
Ankara and Moscow, supporting opposite sides of the conflict, are trying to bring them to an agreement
Talks between the leaders of the opposing sides in Libya ended in Moscow on Monday, following which the Russian Foreign Minister noted some progress. The day before, a fragile ceasefire reached with the mediation of Russia and Turkey entered into force in Libya.
Russia and Turkey have assumed the role of key arbiters in Libya, seeking to convince the head of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj and his rival General Khalifa Haftar to begin agreeing on common terms for a longer-term political agreement that suits both Ankara and Moscow..
On Monday, ahead of talks, Sarraj called on Libyans to “start with a clean slate,” set aside differences, unite and move towards stability and peace. He stated that the NTC agreed to a ceasefire to end the bloodshed, and remains in “a position of strength to maintain the cohesion of the nation and society.”.
The parties failed to sign a peace agreement on Monday as planned, and it was decided to continue negotiations on Tuesday. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed confidence that in the end the parties would sign the document and noted that they assess it positively..
Since Haftar launched an offensive in Tripoli last year, more than 280 civilians and about 2,000 fighters have died, and about 146,000 have been displaced, according to monitoring organizations..
The stakes are high for both Russia and Turkey, which support opposing sides in the Libyan conflict, analysts say: for Russia it is about reputation and possible cooperation in the oil sector, for Turkey – about even broader commercial interests..
Turkey supports Sarraj and sent its forces in support of the PNS, while Russia supports Haftar, on whose side hundreds of Russian contractors from the Wagner Group PMC are fighting.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was aware of the presence of Russian mercenaries in Libya, but stressed that they did not obey him..
“If there are Russian citizens there, they do not represent the interests of the Russian state and do not receive money from the Russian state,” he said..
Haftar’s forces are also supported by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. French authorities reject Sarraj’s accusations of secretly supporting Haftar’s siege of Tripoli.
Amid the growing role of foreign players in the Libyan conflict, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned last week that the country is at risk of being in a state of civil war, like Syria..
Merkel welcomes the mediation of Ankara and Moscow. Speaking at a joint press conference with Putin last Saturday, she said: “We hope that the joint efforts of Russia and Turkey will be crowned with success and that we will soon be sending out invitations to the conference in Berlin.”.
Analysts note that European countries that are actively providing humanitarian assistance to Libya have recently taken the position of silent observers and want someone else to deal with the conflict, which contributed to the increase in the influx of migrants to Europe..
At the same time, there is no common position within the European Union about which of the parties to the Libyan conflict should be supported. The rift between France and Italy over this issue contributed to the collapse of international peace efforts.
“Without European leadership in the Libyan issue, it turned out to be easier for Russia and Turkey to get into the conflict themselves,” said Atlantic Council analysts Karim Mezran and Emily Burchfield..