Diplomatic Activity Intensifies Amid Military Escalation In Libya

North Africa

As the LNA continues its push into areas controlled by the GNA, states involved in the Libya conflict are increasing diplomatic activity on the matter.

Military tensions have been rising in Libya especially following the advance recorded by the Libyan National Army (LNA) in its capture of the strategically important city of Sirte. This escalation has pushed regional and global powers to meet in a series of diplomatic developments surrounding the civil conflict there.

Most recently, the Turkish and Russian presidents, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin, have called for an official ceasefire to begin on 12 January. Turkey has recently reinforced its military support for the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), while Russia balances relations with both sides in Libya, although it militarily backs Khalifa Haftar’s LNA forces.

Preceding this development, head of the GNA, Fayez al-Sarraj, visited Brussels to meet with EU officials to discuss the situation, while Khalifa Haftar visited Rome to meet with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. The main issue of contention within the EU itself is the differing stances towards Libya of France and Italy.

Although the aforementioned international actors have been involved politically, economically and militarily in Libya, it is Libya’s direct neighbours who have expressed their deepest concerns regarding the situation, which they believe may have a direct negative impact on their stability.

The new leaders of both Tunisia and Algeria, Qais Said and Abdelmadjid Tebboune, have condemned the foreign interference in Libyan affairs and have stated that external forces are causing increased instability there, which may have adverse effects on Tunisia and Algeria.

Qais Said recently stated that the situation in Libya is becoming ever more complicated and that there is a high likelihood that refugees will begin crossing the border into Tunisia. He asserted that Tunisia must remain vigilant as there is a possibility that “terrorist elements” may enter the country under the guise of being refugees fleeing the war. Indeed, border points between Tunisia and Libya have frequently been closed due to security concerns.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune recently welcomed Fayez al-Sarraj in Algeria. Tebboune has called on the international community to push for a ceasefire in Libya. He called Tripoli a “red line” that should not be passed by the LNA.