5 – 11 August: US policy makers urge for demilitarised solution for Sirte and Jufra

Aug 12, 2020 | International actors

On 4 August, US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said it had become clear that there was ‘no winning side’ in Libya’s conflict. In a statement, O’Brien said President Trump had discussed the need to de-escalate the situation in Libya in phone calls with French President Emmanuel Macron, Egyptian President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi and Emirati Crown Prince Muhammed Bin Zayed.

On 7 August, a high-level US delegation headed by National Security Council Senior Director Major Miguel Correa and Ambassador Richard Norland held separate, virtual discussions with Government of National Accord (GNA) National Security Advisor, Tajeddine Razzaqi, and House of Representatives (HoR) Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, Yousef al-Aqouri. The meetings were intended to ‘advance concrete, urgent steps to find a demilitarised solution for Sirte and Jufra, and re-open Libya’s oil sector with full transparency.’ The same day, the US embassy issued a statement explaining that Ambassador Norland had also held telephone meetings with GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and GNA Interior Minister Bashaagha to discuss advancing a political dialogue. On 10 August, Norland met with Egyptian officials in Cairo. On the same day, Norland met with HoR Speaker Aqeela Saleh to discuss resuming dialogue in order to bring the Libyan crisis in line with the Cairo Declaration and outcomes of the Berlin conference.

On 6 August, Turkish Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusolgu and Maltese Foreign Minister Evaris Bartolo travelled to Tripoli, where they met with al-Serraj. Cavusolgu said in statements following the meeting that a ‘durable’ ceasefire in Libya would mean that the GNA could spread its control further east of Tripoli into areas currently held by LNA forces. He added that this included taking control of Sirte and Jufra.

The same day, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias announced at a joint press conference in Cairo the signing of a maritime demarcation deal designating an Exclusive Economic Zone in the eastern Mediterranean between the two countries. Greek diplomats said the agreement ‘effectively nullified an accord between Turkey and the internationally-recognised government of Libya.’

On 10 August, Germany, France and Italy reportedly moved ahead with plans to impose sanctions on violators of the UN arms embargo to Libya. According to these reports, the three countries agreed on a list of companies and individuals providing ships, aircraft or other logistics for the transport of weapons to Libya. The list included three companies from Turkey, Jordan and Kazakhstan as well as two individuals from Libya.