11 – 17 March: GNA’s Minister of Interior travels to France and the UK

Mar 18, 2020 | International actors

On 16 and 17 March, the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Minister of Interior, Fathi Bashaagha, travelled to France to hold meetings with his French counterpart, Christophe Castaner. This comes after a series of meetings in the UK. On 11 March, Bashaagha spoke to a group of British parliamentarians in London where he called on the UK to play a larger role in Libya’s security and development sectors. Bashaagha praised the UK’s efforts to remove ISIS from the city of Sirte in 2016, adding he was keen for the GNA and the UK to maintain security cooperation and coordination.

On 12 March, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, announced that the current Deputy Envoy to Libya, Stephanie Williams, will serve as the acting Envoy to Libya and the Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) with immediate effect. Ramtane Lamamra, the former head of the African Union’s Commission for Peace and Security and former Algerian Finance Minister, is understood to have already been chosen by Guterres to assume the role on a permanent basis, but needs to be approved the UN Security Council. UNSMIL also joined calls by international partners on all parties to the Libyan conflict to declare an immediate humanitarian cessation of hostilities as well as a halt to the continuing transfer of all military equipment and personnel into Libya, in order to allow local authorities to rapidly respond to the unprecedented public health challenge posed by COVID-19.

On 10 March, the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, met with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, at the German Chancellery in Berlin. Merkel is reported to have said that “there is no military solution to the crisis” and she called on Haftar to sign a ceasefire agreement with the GNA.  On 12 March, Merkel spoke to the head of the GNA, Fayez al-Serraj, by phone. According to a statement from the German government, they discussed the current political and military situation and the Chancellor stressed the importance of signing the ceasefire agreement produced by the 5+5 dialogue in Geneva.