Near and Middle East


Libya war: what is the European answer?

If there is a war in Libya, it concerns us here in Europe as well. Why is that? Because we are already involved, but without a serious commitment to a peaceful solution. The German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the AJC Transatlantic Institute invited today to the discussion round “Libya: Towards a War of Attrition”. Together with the experts Mary Fitzgerald and Mohamed Eljarh, I was the moderator of the discussion and looked for an answer.

Four months after Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA) started their offensive on Tripoli to wrest the capital from the Government of National Unity (GNA), Western Libya is caught in a gruelling battle. The prospect of an end is hard to imagine when so many parties are involved: The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt support the LNA, while Turkey and Qatar support the GNA.

And the EU? The EU is divided: While Italy cooperates with the GNA to control migration, France supports Haftar’s LNA. We urgently need a common European strategy. This was also the opinion of today’s panelists. However, Mohammed Eljarh was pessimistic about Europe’s role in finding a peaceful solution and feared that Europe was primarily interested in containing the conflict.

I wanted to hear from both experts about Libya’s future. With a view to the planned international Libya conference in Germany, both called for effective enforcement of the arms embargo. Mary Fitzgerald stressed that a future peace process must be inclusive, especially with regard to appropriate participation of women at the negotiating table. I agree with this.

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