World leaders including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and Germany’s Angela Merkel gathered in Berlin on Sunday with details of the Libya agreement being presented during a press conference by Merkel, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, UN Special Envoy for Libya Ghassan Salame and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas following the meeting’s conclusion.
Participants also included the presidents of Turkey, Egypt, US State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo, and high-level officials from Great Britain, China, the UAE, Italy, Algeria, the UN, the EU, the African Union, and the Arab League.
Both Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al Saraj and Commander Khalifa Haftar were also expected to attend. According to a report by Der Spiegel, they are expected to participate only after all other participants have agreed to a joint statement.
According to a draft statement, the Berlin conference on Libya would focus on a call for a ceasefire by all sides against petroleum facilities, and to recognize the Tripoli-based state oil company NOC as the only legal entity allowed to sell Libyan oil.
Greece had formally requested an invitation to attend the conference since the signing by Turkey and the Tripoli government of two internationally criticized memoranda on maritime zones, but the Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry said Germany had turned the request down.
Asked to comment on Greece’s absence and whether it came after Turkish pressure by Bild am Sontag newspaper, German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas said that the European Union is tied to the process, and expressed the confidence that as all EU member states are interested in peace in Libya, they are expected to also support the conference.
Referring to the Turkey-Libya memoranda, he also told the newspaper “the natural gas deposit will play no role in our conference,” which is devoted to finding a solution for Libya, and called on everyone to “forget thinking about their interests in the natural gas deposit as long as the civil war is going on.”
In a sign of tensions surrounding the Libyan issue, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu criticised Greece for hosting Haftar ahead of the summit in a tweet directed at Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
He wrote on Twitter: “Inviting Haftar to Greece and highlighting Greek national agenda sabotage the efforts to bring peace to Libya. We would like to remind our Greek friends that these futile efforts are in vain. @NikosDendias.”