Egypt wants all Berlin Conference recommendations implemented

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. (Reuters)
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Updated 07 October 2020

Egypt wants all Berlin Conference recommendations implemented

  • Any real political solution in Libya must be based on an exclusive national vision for the Libyan people, without dictations or prejudiced pressures: Sameh Shoukry

CAIRO: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stressed the need for any political solution in Libya to be based on an exclusive national vision for the Libyan people, without dictations, indicating the need to fully implement the recommendations of the Berlin Conference on Libya.

Shoukry added to the Ministerial Conference on Libya organized by the United Nations General Secretariat and Germany, that the recommendations of the Berlin Conference on Libya must be fully implemented without exception, in concrete measures to push the Libyan parties to respect what everyone in Berlin and the Security Council committed to, whether this relates to a cease-fire or by prohibiting the import of weapons, or by dismantling and disarming militias and combating terrorist organizations.

“These commitments have always been made by the Libyans and the international community without them having an actual effect and without seeing deterrent stances for those who violate them,” Shoukry said.

“I hope that Egypt will not reach a stage in which it is forced to protect its interests and national security as it sees fit, as President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi declared at the Sidi Barani base on June 20. From here Egypt continues its efforts through contacts with its Libyan brothers and through full coordination with the United Nations and the international community, so that security and stability return to all parts of Libya,” the Foreign Minister added.

Shoukry stressed that any real political solution in Libya must be based on an exclusive national vision for the Libyan people, without dictations or prejudiced pressures.

“(The Libyan people have been suffering) in terms of the availability of basic needs and services, as well as the waste and depletion of the wealth of the Libyans, the absence of security in light of the armed groups’ control of some areas and the spread of terrorist groups, mercenaries and foreign forces in parts of Libya,” the minister added.

“Since the outbreak of the Libyan crisis, Egypt has not stopped moving diligently and sincerely in all directions, based on historical relations, popular ties and a common destiny with our Libyan brothers,” Shoukry said.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs considered the ministerial conference an ideal opportunity to reach a political settlement that takes into account all the political, security, economic and social aspects of the Libyan crisis, and takes into account the fair distribution of power and wealth.

“It is imperative for our meeting today to send a clear message that the international community is serious about ending the Libyan crisis according to the will and vision of the Libyans. There is no interest in Libya turning into a country seized by crises and torn apart by conflict. And turning the country into a source of terrorist threats and illegal immigration,” the minister continued.

German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

Updated 24 November 2020

German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

  • Germany insists it acted correctly in boarding a Turkish ship to enforce arms embargo of Libya
  • Turkey summoned European diplomats to complain at the operation

BERLIN: Germany’s defense minister on Tuesday rejected Turkey’s complaints over the search of a Turkish freighter in the Mediterranean Sea by a German frigate participating in a European mission, insisting that German sailors acted correctly.
Sunday’s incident prompted Turkey to summon diplomats representing the European Union, Germany and Italy and assert that the Libya-bound freighter Rosaline-A was subjected to an “illegal” search by personnel from the German frigate Hamburg. The German ship is part of the European Union’s Irini naval mission, which is enforcing an arms embargo against Libya.
German officials say that the order to board the ship came from Irini’s headquarters in Rome and that Turkey protested while the team was on board. The search was then ended.
Turkey says the search was “unauthorized and conducted by force.”
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer backed the German crew’s actions.
“It is important to me to make really clear that the Bundeswehr soldiers behaved completely correctly,” she said during an appearance in Berlin. “They did what is asked of them in the framework of the European Irini mandate.”
“That there is this debate with the Turkish side points to one of the fundamental problems of this European mission,” Kramp-Karrenbauer added, without elaborating. “But it is very important to me to say clearly here that there are no grounds for these accusations that are now being made against the soldiers.”
This was the second incident between Turkey and naval forces from a NATO ally enforcing an arms blockade against Libya.
In June, NATO launched an investigation over an incident between Turkish warships and a French naval vessel in the Mediterranean, after France said one of its frigates was “lit up” three times by Turkish naval targeting radar when it tried to approach a Turkish civilian ship suspected of involvement in arms trafficking.
Turkey supports a UN-backed government in Tripoli against rival forces based in the country’s east. It has complained that the EU naval operation focuses its efforts too much on the Tripoli administration and turns a blind eye to weapons sent to the eastern-based forces.
In Ankara, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Irini was “flawed from the onset.”
“It is not based on firm international legal foundations,” Akar said. He renewed Turkey’s criticism of the German ship’s actions.
“The incident was against international laws and practices. It was wrong,” he said.
Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed that “Turkey is still an important partner for us in NATO.” Turkey being outside the military alliance would make the situation even more difficult, she argued, and Turkish soldiers are “absolutely reliable partners” in NATO missions.
But she conceded that Turkey poses “a big challenge” because of how its domestic politics have developed and because it has its “own agenda, which is difficult to reconcile with European questions in particular.”