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Russia Has Changed the Game in Libya

Jan. 20, 2020 (EIRNS)—After Syria, Russia has proven to be the decisive power to stabilize another country devastated by “regime change” policy, according to EIR’s European Strategic Alert. The real architect of the Jan. 19 Berlin conference on Libya was Russia President Vladimir Putin, who dictated both the composition and the policy adopted. As Russia Acting Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the press:

“It was thanks to our insistence that the organizers retreated from their original plan to convene a meeting without the Libyan parties and invited the Libyan leaders to the conference. ... The number of participants from among Libya’s neighbors was increased also at our initiative,”

he said, and stressing that it is important to take into account these nations’ interests to ensure the sustainability of any agreements.

He explained that the conference was the result of four months of preparatory efforts, including five preliminary rounds and consultations of senior officials.

The 55-point final document signed by all foreign participants has the potential for stabilizing Libya, rebuilding the unity of the country under the auspices of the UN and for an end to all foreign interference. However, that is only a starting point. The next step is to pass a resolution at the UN Security Council as a precondition to implementing a political process.

The final document calls for “the establishment of a functioning Presidency Council and the formation of a single, unified, inclusive and effective Libyan government approved by the House of Representatives.” As is known, the current, UN-recognized government in Tripoli has not been recognized by the House of Representatives, which sits in Benghazi. This passage sounds like Tripoli’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj will have to step aside. Furthermore, the document calls for “the restoration of the monopoly of the state to the legitimate use of force,” and confirms, “We support the establishment of unified Libyan national security, police and military forces under central, civilian authority, building upon the Cairo talks.”

Although all foreign participants—including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, China’s Director of the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Communist Party Yang Jiechi, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres—have signed the Berlin document, neither Sarraj nor Haftar, who never sat in the same room, have underwritten it. However, it will be hard for them to withstand pressures from their main sponsors, Erdogan and Putin.

Both Haftar and Sarraj are expected to visit Moscow in the next period, Russian Presidential Special Envoy for the Middle East and Africa Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, stressing that unlike Turkey, Russia has been able to speak with both of them, as well as with the Speaker of the Parliament Aguila Saleh Issa and head of Libya’s High Council of State Khaled al-Mishri.

It is now important to bring China into the equation, with the perspective of bringing Libya in the Belt and Road infrastructure development to guarantee that reconstruction and development take place concretely. No peace agreement can last without development.

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