UN regrets that arms continued to flow into Libya despite the Berlin conference

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Countries continue to send weapons to the parties to the Libyan conflict, despite the commitments made at the Berlin conference, according to the United Nations announced on Sunday, expressing concern about the fate of the current armistice.

The United Nations Mission in Libya said in a statement that it “deeply regrets the continuing flagrant violations of the arms embargo in Libya” imposed by Security Council Resolution 1970 issued in 2011, adding that this continues “even after the commitments undertaken by the countries concerned” in Berlin on 19 January.

She added that over the past ten days, “many cargo planes and other flights were seen landing in Libyan airports in the western and eastern parts (…) to provide the parties with advanced weapons, armored vehicles, advisers and fighters.”

In a comment on the announcement, Germany, which hosted the Berlin conference, expressed “concern” and spoke of “unconfirmed but credible reports of a violation of the embargo on both sides.”

“What matters now is to reach a stable ceasefire that will be negotiated in the coming days by the Military 5 + 5 Committee whose members were finally named from both sides,” the German Foreign Ministry said in a statement, indicating the most notable progress made by the Berlin conference.

Libya has suffered from chaos since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, and is currently divided between two competing powers: the Tripoli-based National Accord Government recognized by the United Nations, and the authority of Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, the influential man in the east of the country.

Fearing that the conflict would spark growing foreign interference, the participants in the Berlin Conference took a number of commitments, including refraining from sending weapons.

These countries also pledged to avoid any interference in Libyan affairs and any action that would exacerbate the conflict, such as financing military capabilities or recruiting mercenaries.

– “Timeout for civilians” –

The war has been at the gates of Tripoli since April 4, the date of the launch of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who is receiving support from Russia, the UAE and Egypt, an attack towards the capital, where the Turkish-backed Al-Wefaq government is based.

And killed more than two thousand fighters and 280 civilians, according to the United Nations, which also indicates the displacement of nearly 150 thousand people.

A ceasefire was reached on January 12 at the initiative of Moscow and Ankara, but it remains fragile and the two sides accuse each other of breaching it.

Nevertheless, the UN mission statement indicated that a “significant decrease” in hostilities “gave the civilians in the capital an urgent need.”

The statement stressed that “this fragile truce is now threatened by the continued transfer of foreign fighters, weapons, ammunition and advanced systems to the parties by member states, including some of the countries participating in the Berlin Conference,” without specifying the identity of these countries.

On Saturday night, the capital, Tripoli, was subjected to a random bombardment that killed a 42-year-old Moroccan civilian (according to the Rabat Declaration) and wounded seven others, according to Agence France-Presse Amin al-Hashemi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health in the Al-Wefaq government.

The UN mission warned that “continued violations” of the ceasefire agreement “threaten to plunge the country into a renewed and intensive round of fighting.”

Oil stopped.

The text of an agreement between Ankara and the Al-Wefaq government signed at the end of November, that Turkey would provide military support to Tripoli, at a time accusing Moscow of supporting pro-Haftar forces with weapons, money and mercenaries, despite its repeated denials.

In this context, the international community fears that Libya will turn into a “second Syria”.

Besides the possibility of escalation, there is a fear of the economy collapsing because of the stoppage of oil exports – the only near source of revenue.

On January 18, on the eve of the Berlin Summit, forces loyal to Haftar closed the most prominent ports and oil fields in the east and south of the country, which led to a sharp drop in production and recorded losses of more than $ 256 million, according to the National Oil Corporation.

The United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union have called in recent days for the resumption of production “immediately”, while warning against the deterioration of the humanitarian situation.


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