29 July – 4 August: Russia and Turkey claim to be holding a third round of Libya consultations soon

Aug 5, 2020 | International actors

On 30 July, the deputy spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Alexey Zaytsev, stated that Russia and Turkey would be holding a third round of consultations on Libya in Moscow ‘in the near future’. Zaytsev denied allegations that Russia had violated the arms embargo in Libya as ‘groundless’ and claimed that the countries making accusations were ‘directly involved in arms supplies to the Libyan warring sides.’  On 27 July, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said that continued external military support from countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia, France and Saudi Arabia to Libyan National Army (LNA) leader Khalifa Haftar represents the ‘greatest obstacle to peace’ in Libya. Akar said that Turkey’s main objective in Libya is to support a comprehensive political solution led by Libyans themselves, while criticising the LNA’s foreign allies for their disingenuous support of a political solution.

On 30 July, the US House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee agreed to amendments to the ‘Libya Stabilisation Act’ and unanimously approved the bill. The bill would compel the Trump administration to levy sanctions on Russia and Turkey for contributing to the escalation of the civil war in Libya. The bill’s approval allows it to go to a full vote by the House, and then to the Senate if it is approved by the House.  On 27 July, US Chargé d’Affaires Joshua Harris travelled to Misrata, where he met with Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq and Minister of Interior Fathi Bashaagha.  On 29 July, Harris travelled to Benghazi where he met with officials from the House of Representatives (HoR) and the LNA. At both meetings, the parties reportedly discussed forestalling military escalation in Sirte and Jufra, reopening Libya’s energy sector and intensifying Libya’s efforts at Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR).

On 4 August, the German Hamburg frigate departed from Wilhelmshaven headed for the Mediterranean carrying 250 German soldiers at the start of a 5-month mission to support the EU’s Operation Irini to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya. On 30 July, Germany’s ambassador to the United Nations, Christopher Heusgen, said the US should not stop UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres from naming a new UN Envoy for Libya. The US has said it wants to split the role, with one person running the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and another focusing on mediating peace in Libya.

On 27 July, the Saudi Foreign Minister Faysal bin Farhan told Egyptian President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi during a meeting in Cairo that his government supports Egypt’s calls for a ceasefire in Libya. Bin Farhan added that Riyadh sympathizes with Egypt’s security concerns, and called for a restoration of Libya’s oil sector.