Germany, France Say Libya Sanctions Are Possible Over Violence

Leaders of France, Germany and Italy called for an immediate cease-fire in Libya and said they are ready to consider sanctions if conflict parties and their foreign backers continue to violate a weapons embargo.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte demanded an “immediate cessation of fighting” in the oil-rich nation, according to a statement issued after they met on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Brussels.

The three cited violations of a United Nations-sponsored weapons embargo, which the EU is backing with a sea mission in the Mediterranean.

“We are ready to consider the possible use of sanctions should breaches to the embargo at sea, on land or in the air continue,” the statement said on Saturday.

Libya has been engulfed in turmoil since a 2011 NATO-backed revolt, with conflict parties backed by Turkey and Russia as well as neighboring countries such as Egypt.

Turkish backing for Libya’s internationally recognized government based in Tripoli helped end a military campaign on the capital by forces led by Khalifa Haftar, whose self-styled Libyan National Army has been pushed east. Haftar’s backers -- which include state-linked Russian mercenaries and the United Arab Emirates -- have called for talks, while trying to ensure he doesn’t lose more territory.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Thursday that his country’s military was capable of turning the tide of the conflict in Libya against pro-government forces if they sought to seize a key city controlled by an ally of Cairo.

Merkel hosted a summit meeting in Berlin in January with the warring parties and their backers in a bid to halt the violence and stabilize the weapons embargo, only to see shipments continue unabated.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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