UN led Libyan peace talks to be held in Berlin

epa08120126 Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel shake hands during a joint press conference after their talks in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 11 January 2020. Merkel is in Moscow to discuss current international issues such as the situation in Syria, Libya, Ukraine and US-Iran tensions as well as bilateral relations. EPA-EFE/PAVEL GOLOVKIN / POOL

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Libyan peace talks will be held in Berlin, as Turkey and Russia appealed to Libya’s warring factions to enter a ceasefire.

During a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Saturday, Merkel said: “We hope that the joint efforts by Russia and Turkey will lead to success, and we will soon send out invitations for a conference in Berlin.”

Merkel stressed that the United Nations would lead talks if a meeting were to take place in Berlin, and that Libya’s warring parties would need to play a major role to help find a solution.

Putin expressed support for the process, saying it was a “timely” idea and necessary to bring the conflict in Libya to an end.

Earlier this week Turkey and Russia urged Libya’s warring parties to declare a ceasefire on Sunday. Turkey backs Fayez al-Sarraj’s Tripoli-based, Government of National Accord (GNA) and has said it will send military advisers and possibly troops to reinforce its support, against General Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA).

In response to being asked whether he was aware of the presence of Russian mercenaries in Libya Putin said: “If there are Russian citizens there, then they are not representing the interests of the Russian state and they are not receiving money from the Russian state.”

“The Berlin conference needs to ensure attendance of those states that are truly determined to help resolve the Libya crisis so that it could bring about tangible results. What is more important is that its decisions should be negotiated in a preliminary plan with the Libyan parties.”

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