Senior US officials met Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in late November at an undisclosed location to urge him to end his nearly eight-month Tripoli offensive. But Haftar and other leaders within his self-styled Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) remain defiant — suggesting that thousands of their fighters have not died in vain — and explicitly confirming that, from their perspective, there is only a military solution to the conflict.
This attitude raises doubts about the prospects for the Berlin peace process. US officials hinted that the draft communiqué — developed by the UN and German Foreign Ministry after four rounds of consultations with key Libyan leaders — has 49 parts. The more complex the draft agreement is for the divided and diverse Libyan stakeholders, the less likely it will succeed or be implementable.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the internationally recognised Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, signed a controversial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 27 November in which they recognised a common maritime border in the Mediterranean.
Ankara obviously aims to bolster its claims to oil exploration rights in the disputed territorial waters that it has with Greece and Cyprus which are not only EU members but may sign a similar MOU with the rival eastern Libyan government which is controlled by Haftar.
For its part, the GNA seeks to maintain robust Turkish support in order to maintain its resistance to Haftar’s campaign against Tripoli. Yet the MOU has broader, negative implications for the GNA’s important relationships with both the EU and the US, and increases doubts about the fate of the Berlin peace process.