Second Berlin Conference on Libya was aimed to make progress on removing mercenaries and other foreign forces, months after the ceasefire called for their withdrawal, as well as on steps towards securing a December 24 election.

International participants, including Turkey, at the Second Berlin Conference on Libya in Berlin, Germany. June 23, 2021
International participants, including Turkey, at the Second Berlin Conference on Libya in Berlin, Germany. June 23, 2021 (AA)

The second Libya conference has concluded in Berlin with a final declaration stressing the need for holding elections in the North African country as agreed and withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries.

"National presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 24 December 2021 need to take place as agreed in the roadmap adopted by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in Tunis in November 2020, and their results need to be accepted by all.

The necessary constitutional and legislative arrangements must be adopted," read the declaration on Wednesday.

It also said the election results "need to be accepted by all and "the necessary constitutional and legislative arrangements must be adopted."

Hosted by Germany for the second time, the conference discussed Libya's political process, the national elections slated for December 24, and the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from the country with the participation of international actors, including Turkey.

Turkey's role in ending civil war 

Held under the auspices of the UN and Germany, the meeting was attended by the head of Libya's Presidential Council Mohammed al Menfi and Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, UN Special Envoy to Libya Jan Kubis, and the foreign ministers of the participating countries.

The statement also called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya.

"All foreign forces and mercenaries need to be withdrawn from Libya without delay," it said, noting Turkey's reservation.

The 2019 security cooperation agreement between Turkey and Libya has been credited with helping end the civil war in the country and promoting peace and unity under the legitimate government.

The communique underscored the importance of addressing and resolving the underlying causes of the conflict as well, saying the security sector needs to be "reformed and placed firmly under unified, civilian authority and oversight."

It also said a transparent and fair allocation of resources should be ensured across the country.

"Human rights violations and abuses as well as violations of international humanitarian law must be addressed and a process of inclusive, comprehensive and rights-based national reconciliation and transitional justice needs to begin.

Intra-Libya talks 

Inclusive intra-Libyan dialogue must continue," it added.

The participants reiterated and reaffirmed their commitments first made at the Berlin conference in January 2020.

Earlier in May, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that foreign fighters and mercenaries should leave Libya, but these forces should not be confused with legitimate forces training Libya's military under a pact with the legitimate government. 

Cavusoglu met German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and PM Dbeibeh ahead of the second Berlin Conference on Libya.

"We discussed Libya, our EU relations in the context of immigration and customs union and tourism issues," Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter.

READ MORE: Will Gaddafi’s son make a run for Libya's presidency?

Progress in addressing violence 

Helped by the United Nations, Libya has over the past year made swift progress in addressing a decade of chaos and violence that at one stage threatened to escalate into a full-scale regional conflict.

Rival administrations in the east and west of the country that had been at war with each other agreed a ceasefire and formed a unity government working to hold elections in December.

However, big risks persist with questions on all sides' commitment to the elections, and with the continued presence of myriad armed groups backed by foreign forces or mercenaries.

The Berlin meeting aims to build international support for the political process and to cement the ceasefire.

It follows a previous conference in Berlin early last year that set out political, military and economic tracks to resolve a decade of chaos and violence since a NATO-backed uprising ousted the former leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The political progress emerged in the wake of eastern warlord Khalifa Haftar's failed 14-month assault on Tripoli, as a new frontline solidified near the coastal city of Sirte.

Haftar was backed by the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt. 

The Tripoli government was supported by Turkey, which ultimately helped it repel the assault.

READ MORE: Libya's unity govt reopens coastal road ahead of Berlin talks

Source: TRTWorld and agencies