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Merkel says Libya arms embargo will be respected after Berlin summit

Germany has brought together key players. Credit: AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday that countries with interests in Libya's long-running conflict have agreed that they should respect a much-violated arms embargo.

The participants at Sunday's summit in Berlin agreed to provide no further military support to the warring parties while a cease-fire lasts, Merkel said after about four hours of talks at the chancellery in Berlin.

“We agreed on a comprehensive plan forward,” Merkel said.

“I can say that all participants worked really constructively together.”

"We all agree that we should respect the arms embargo and that the arms embargo should be controlled more strongly than it has been in the past," she said.

The members of the conference agreed to provide no further military support to the warring parties, Merkel said.

Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron were present. Credit: AP

She added the participants would continue to hold regular further meetings to ensure the process continues “so the people in Libya get their right to a peaceful life”.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “I cannot stress enough the summit's conclusion that there is no military solution to the conflict in Libya.”

Merkel hosted leaders from 11 countries outside Libya as well as the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and the Arab League.

Libya's two main rival leaders, Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj and Gen. Khalifa Hifter, also came to Berlin.

Asked whether Sarraj and Hifter were part of the talks in Berlin, Merkel said: "We spoke with them individually because the differences between them are so great that they aren't speaking with each other at the moment."

Merkel and her foreign minister met both men at the chancellery before the summit began.

Merkel said the two men agreed to name members of a military committee that will represent them at talks on a more permanent cease-fire.

Boris Johnson arriving for the conference. Credit: AP

Mr Johnson held talks with Mr Macron on the margins of the summit.

A Downing Street spokesperson said earlier on Sunday: "The Prime Minister and President discussed the ongoing conflict in Libya.

"The Prime Minister stressed the need to bring an end to the fighting and for all parties to support peace talks to determine a way forward for the Libyan people."

General Khalifa Haftar is the Libyan PM's main rival. Credit: AP

A truce brokered earlier this month by Russia and Turkey marked the first break in fighting in months, but the cease-fire has seen repeated violations.

Speaking at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport before flying to the summit, President Erdogan said the world had failed to respond adequately to Haftar's “reckless attacks” on Mr Sarraj's UN-recognised government.

“Hopes that flourish again with the cease-fire and the Berlin summit should not be sacrificed to the ambitions of the merchants of blood and chaos," he said.

Libya has sunk further into chaos since the 2011 ousting and killing of Libya's longtime dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi.

The country is now divided into rival administrations, each backed by different nations: the UN-recognised government based in Tripoli, headed by Mr Sarraj, and one based in the country's east, supported by Gen Haftar's forces.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the world had failed to respond adequately to Hifter’s 'reckless attacks'. Credit: AP

Gen Haftar's forces have been on the offensive since April, laying siege to Tripoli in an effort to capture the capital.

They are backed by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, while the Tripoli government has turned to Turkey for troops and weapons.

On Friday, tribal groups loyal to Gen Haftar seized several large oil export terminals along Libya's eastern coast as well as southern oil fields in another challenge to the Tripoli government, which collects revenue from oil production.

The National Oil Corporation said the move threatens to throttle much of Libya's oil production.