German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Sunday said he’s seeking an end to all foreign interference in war-torn Libya. Maas’s Libya visit was not announced in advance for security reasons, according to German officials.
Addressing journalists during a brief visit to Libya, Maas said foreign influence is a “fundamental problem” in the Libya crisis and stopping it would be one of the goals in Berlin. He said the issue will be discussed at a conference on the North African country, which will take place in Berlin later this year.
Maas spoke alongside his Libyan counterpart Mohamed Taher Siala and UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, in the town of Zuwarah, 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of Tripoli.
He also met with Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, to discuss the latest developments in Libya and preparations for the upcoming international conference on Libya in Berlin. The conference date has not yet been officially announced but it will likely be in November or early December.
Libya has fallen into chaos since a 2011 uprising that toppled and killed long-ruling dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The country has been witnessing an outbreak of violence since April, when the self-styled Libyan National Army launched its offensive to take the capital, Tripoli, away from the military aligned with the U.N.-supported government. Turkey and Qatar support the government, while Egypt and the United Arab Emirates back the offensive. At least 1,000 people have died in the fighting between the GNA and the LNA forces since April.
According to UN envoy Salame’s plan of action presented this summer, he hopes to end international disagreement over Libya in Berlin, before holding a local conference with Libyan parties.
Maas said Germany supports the envoy’s plan, which the minister said was necessary to reactivate the political process in Libya in order to achieve lasting peace.