According to AP, the leaders of Germany, France, and Italy on Saturday called on the nations involved to “end their growing meddling” in Libya and to respect a frequently violated arms embargo, in addition to being willing to consider sanctions if they persist transgressions.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte issued a joint statement after discussing the Libyan issue on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Brussels. Earlier, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had said this month that foreign meddling in the Libyan war has reached “unprecedented levels.”
This despite an agreement reached in January in Berlin between the rulers of world powers and other countries with interests in the war in Libya in order to respect the arms embargo, refrain from militarily supporting the parties to the conflict and urge them to arrange a ceasefire.
Libya has been the scene of turmoil since 2011 when a civil war resulted in the overthrow of longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi, who was later assassinated. The sprawling North African nation has since been divided into two rival governments, one in the east and the other in the west, each with the support of armed groups and foreign governments.
Merkel, Macron, and Conte called for an “immediate cessation of the fight and to stop the current military career throughout the country.”
“We also call on all foreign participants to end their growing meddling and to fully respect the arms embargo,” he said. They indicated that “we are ready to consider the possible imposition of sanctions if the violations of the embargo by sea, land, and air persist,” and indicated that they are pending the proposals for solutions by the head of the EU’s foreign policy, Josep Borrell.
The three rulers did not specify by name the countries on which the sanctions could fall.
The US military is increasingly concerned about Russia’s growing influence in Libya, where hundreds of Russian mercenaries have supported Libyan commander Khalifa Hifter’s campaign to capture the capital Tripoli in the western part of the country.
According to the report on anti-terrorist operations in Africa prepared by the Pentagon’s internal watchdog and released Thursday, Turkey has paid for and offered citizenship to thousands of mercenaries fighting alongside paramilitary groups in Tripoli against Hifter’s troops.