The participants in the Berlin Libya conference pledged to attend a follow-up meeting to uphold the arms embargo against the North African crisis country. The representatives of all twelve participating states confirmed the Berlin decisions at their meeting, said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Sunday after the meeting on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.
However, there had also been „very open“ talk about the „not inconsiderable numerous violations of the arms embargo“ in the past few weeks. The participants had expressed „quite different opinions“, which led to the violations, Maas said. „But everyone agrees that the path we have taken to separate the parties to the conflict from their supporters remains the only promising way to end the civil war in Libya.“
Maas announced that, in consultations with its EU counterparts tomorrow, a decision could be reached on the European contribution to monitoring the arms embargo in the conflict in Libya. It is not important which means of surveillance you choose. It is more important that all ways of delivering weapons to air, water and land are monitored.
Austria against resumption of „Sophia“
The EU foreign ministers want to decide on the contribution of the European Union in the surveillance of the arms embargo. It is particularly controversial whether ships should also be used in a follow-up mission for the former EU naval mission “Sophia”. Some EU countries, including Austria, reject this with the argument that the naval ships would also rescue migrants from Libya from distress in the Mediterranean and bring them to the EU.
Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) confirmed Austria’s no to resuming the mission a few days ago. Schallenberg argued that when it comes to Libya, „comprehensive and sustainable solutions“ are needed „and not quick shots that could create additional problems“. The Foreign Minister reaffirmed his position that resuming the maritime component of Operation Sophia was „not an appropriate response to the essence of the problem“. Rather, it would „create a pull factor for illegal migration again by the presence of EU ships off the coast of Libya“.