EU’s Top Diplomat Cites ‘Quite Worrying’ Violence in Libya

Patrick Donahue

(Bloomberg) -- Europe’s top diplomat warned of renewed violence in Libya recently and said international powers must put pressure on the warring parties to end the conflict.

The European Union’s top foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said that recent developments were “quite worrying” and that a Jan. 19 meeting of world leaders in Berlin had not halted Libya’s civil war.

“We knew, everybody, that the result of the Berlin conference would not result in automatic implementation,” Borrell told reporters in Berlin on Monday alongside German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. “Everybody knew it wasn’t an agreement that would be enforced tomorrow.”

His comments come after the United Nations warned that foreign powers were setting the stage for more not less fighting in the OPEC nation. Libya’s internationally-recognized government said Sunday that repeated attacks by rival commander Khalifa Haftar have rendered a fragile truce all but meaningless.

“We don’t have any illusions that this will be a difficult path, and that the largest part of it lies ahead of us,” Germany’s Maas said.

Frailty of Libya Accord on Display In Merkel-Erdogan Squabble

At stake for Europe is the stability of a major oil producer in its backyard and the threat of a growing sphere of influence of Russia and Turkey, which effectively control developments there by sending support to the warring parties. The idea for Europe to have its own military presence in Libya is far from consensual and would require an effective cease-fire first.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted the Berlin meeting in an attempt to stanch the conflict but the precariousness of the accord was on display during her visit to Istanbul on Friday, where she and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan bickered publicly over the terms of the deal.

The UN on Saturday said none of the parties involved in the Berlin conference --- which also grouped Turkey, Russia and Egypt -- were honoring the terms of the deal.

(Updates with context, tweets)

--With assistance from Taylan Bilgic.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Donahue in Berlin at pdonahue1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Raymond Colitt, Caroline Alexander

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