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tv   To the point  Deutsche Welle  January 24, 2020 12:30pm-1:01pm CET

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a lot of times all voices. 77 percent. from one party to flash. this is way up. to the 77 percent. this week d.w. . can germany succeed where others have failed and broker a political solution to the long running conflict in libya chancellor merkel says last sunday's conference here in berlin was a 1st step the chancellor did in fact succeed in getting the main players in this proxy war to sit down at one table including the russian and turkish presidents until now on opposing sides they and other foreign backers have been channeling
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weapons and money to rebel general khalifa haftar on the one hand to hand for the un backed government of prime minister also raj on the other now all are pledging to uphold a un embargo but the 2 rivals declined even to meet in berlin and the un embargo has proven anything but in the past power struggle in libya peace have a chance. and here to answer that question are our guests. independent journalist who regularly reports from northern africa has been based in both libya and tunis and he says to start a political dialogue we need less focus on haftorah and also raj and more on the trauma caused by 42 years of kentucky otherwise living is in danger of. splitting.
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and it's a pleasure to welcome our posner back to the show he's a political commentator for the daily newspaper david and he says a weapon zimbardo when a legitimate government is being attacked by rebel powers is wrong europe has betrayed the libyan government and its people. and it's a pleasure to welcome my colleague mona hefner who works in an arabic service she says agreeing to uphold an arms embargo will make no difference on the ground given the number of actors and interests. so if i listen to those opening statements they all sound pretty skeptical about whether this agreement can really change anything but chancellor merkel herself actually did quite a bit of expectation management following the conference last sunday wasn't it nonetheless an achievement to even get all the parties around one table talking i think the achievement was that libya's no in the focus again north africa is no
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well again on on europe's agenda and i think libya was for too long tresses that we thought is something like a local sea level crisis that nobody should care about just migration was an issue that that well so the delivery of boats and some help was it was cared about but now we see that this could be could have ended up in a regional conflict with turkish and egyptian troops even at the front lines in the south of tripoli so i think the chief minister to have a look again on this tries this but now there is a huge burden on the german government because no one has to deliver. what would you say was this in fact a small step getting all these different parties who you mentioned in the opening statement getting them at one table i think getting them on one table as one issue and really implementing the decisions that they have been making i think this is
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the huge difference and i think they're i think he's speaking there have been some decisions that were made but in the end if we're really looking at reality if these decisions country to be implemented because these countries are playing with double standards you can't be a war maker and the peacekeeper at the same time it can't happen like that so we'll come back to that reality in a bit more detail in a moment but alan how do you see a sea of bases like one or does i mean. you get people around the table even the european union can agree you have france and italy on different sides germany pretending to be neutral as if we weren't desperately interested in what's going on there and if you don't even have the european union together how are you going to get these other people they just go blah blah blah pose for the cameras and then they go home and they do they do their thing as we've seen the 1st thing you have to did when you got back was attacked the airport in tripoli is the 1st thing you
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did and got back on the phones and sent over some rockets. forget it let us hear some voices from libya and whether they think the libya conference or berlin conference could in fact make a difference. if the burn conference takes the interest of the libyan people and libya into consideration we welcome it but if it reflects the interests of other parties we won't be happy about it never said that it. says the berlin conference is a trap for libya a real trap. and i don't think anything good will come of it. which i can tell you for a pessimistic or optimistic there are so many conferences in russia for instance but that one needed no results. so some pretty guarded answers there speaking of expectation management mikko what are you
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hearing from people in libya you report regularly from there what are they saying. libya is in the same conflict as it was in 2011 when people went on the streets in the east and tripoli not only be against gaddafi but also for the let's say just distribution of wealth of money africa's richest country and nothing much changed since then and europe looked away for a long time that at the end you have now let's say one group in tripoli controlling the n.o.c. the nation or a corporation the central bank deciding about the distribution of wealth that goes as well to the east but let's not forget most of the oil facilities in the east and that's what you see now that you have a closing of the oil parts and the east because. people really demand after the bill in conference that now talk about distributing. the money on the central bank
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from the central bank in a way to be i think people expected a lot from the bill and conference but now they see this is maybe adjusts jade maybe just a starting point or maybe nothing so now immediately if. lopez to happened and that's what we have to see you know mona was pretty clear from those sound bites that all the people we heard feel their country has become a pawn in an ongoing power game. you talked in your opening statement about all the different actors involved here this is a really big challenge but can you give us the short summary version of who they are and what are the different interests involved yes of course you have 3 main interests one is the oil the other is i do logical in the 3rd one is the migration crisis countries are fighting each other because of that you have the emirates and egypt and. russia support taking. and you have on the
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other side italy and. what was it again. turkey turkey of course. in tripoli and surrounding the u.n. i recognize government is just and due to all these conflicting yes and cut off course you have also jordan that is playing in the background saudi arabia so you have so many actors including the militias that are supported by these different actors so this makes the whole situation quite confusing and it's very easy to sell their sponsibility on the other side once and attack happens so tell me this the arab countries who are involved you mentioned egypt emirates emirates playing a very big role how do they see the berlin conference i think they participated in it but let's be honest about it i mean in the end see see if they gyptian presidency even if you participated he does support that he does send weapons over
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so i think making promises in the end is very easy but whether he will implemented or not is another question so. another challenge along the same lines also at the table here in berlin where france italy china u.s. what was their role destructive. no. they look it's like again and i'm going to said. so many different players so different interests none of them interested in the libyan people let's say that none of them none of them any interest whatsoever in what moco said that this oil belongs to the libyan people that they should be distributed used and invested and so on none of the right and and then a vote in congress doesn't change that one little bit what you have to do is institute. the will get to that later right is it of a firm government that's in the capable of acting in the interest of the libyan
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people but still happening i'm glad you mentioned from government led let's go right there right now and take a closer look at the power struggle libya as you pointed out spiraled into violence following the fall of the dictator muammar qadhafi successive administrations have failed to gain power over the country's many militias all saroj took the helm of the government in 2016 but he controls only a small area around the capital tripoli large swathes of territory are under the forces commanded by field marshal after farther to the south local militias make money from smuggling refugees so let me 1st of all begin by asking about the legitimacy of this u.n. recognized government. in fact it was never elected he essentially also raj came into power as a result of the united nations initiative yes he came in power late 2015
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because the international community needed desperately a government besides every country needs a government but the islamic state in the days can childes over and it's because amr to the libyan coast so this war against the islamic states was fought by i just from misrata was with the invitation of the. government this is why it was installed i would say by u.n. and also supported by you can union. late 2015 but the parliament that is now. in the east never never inaugurated this government and this is the argument for many people in the east that they are as well have a non recognized government themselves and beta then you have this government which the mandate is as they mandate of the parliament the libyan parliament run out
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because 2 years have been passed so i think it is the chance to bring these institutions to governments to parliaments to armies not all together despite the digits and you see i just as you said i agree with your point that you said we the west really didn't support the international recognized government but this recognition is something that was just in need in 2016 so let me ask you this because you did say in your opening statement that weapons of argo is wrong when a legitimate government is being attacked by rebel powers so i looked up legitimacy under international law to just remind myself and in fact the legitimacy of a government very much depends on its effective control of its territory now also rudge as we said never elected and actually in control of only a very small amount of libyan territory so is this government really legitimate in
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that sense but if you just look at the territory most of the territory that is outside the coastal strip is basically uninhabited so that gives interests just saying how much territory has doesn't say a thing the 2nd thing is what if this is true what you're saying this means that if any rebel organization back from outside us have to by the russians. can control enough territory then they automatic. become just a myth and that surely is not what is meant by the fire by legitimacy. you know i mean we had the same thing the spanish civil war. did for general franco who came to power under a dead rahm's embargo by the western powers did he gain to the digital mysie when he finally surrounded. madrid and then forced the revolutionaries out of course not he was never legitimate never and the same thing is here we general have is a pawn basically of russian interests unfortunately helped by france thus rendering
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the european union in potent. have to says he is the only one who is capable of essentially saving libya from becoming a haven for islamic terrorists and the fact is that he and his forces did force the islamic state out of the eastern part of the country out of benghazi at great cost in human life to their own forces so is there something to be said for that and those that give him legitimacy i think. like you've looked up the term legitimacy i mean what is really at richard to me does differ within the whole context because in the end if some countries are supporting hostile it means that is to them kind of legitimate so what i think is that you have and tripoli you have of course the muslim brotherhood and you have different militias but we don't we don't want to forget that even with half the there are some sort of fists fighting
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so i don't i'm not quite sure if the main issue for hostile is as being against i as or or. like fighting them i think the main issue is for hostages being in power and i think another issue is that half there doesn't want turkey to intervene into this this whole conflict and to take power especially after the maritime agreement. it was made with triple maritime agreement for for your new ideas drilling rights for oil. in libyan waters yes something to that the battle between the concept of a militia of islamist militias and let's say something that is the former army which is now represented by half the started already doing the revolution and it was one of the competitors after was killed by some of to those 11.
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by by radical groups and this battle is going on since then and since then you have egypt on the one side and you have qatar on the other hand so i think it's not any more a question of legitimacy i think this is now really to hammer all the deal of power sharing and if the berlin conference was really helpful we don't know exactly but it really there is a need to go beyond legitimacy and to go beyond. who's right and wrong this is about avoiding a bigger regional was i think between these the mists militia idea and dictatorship police state. let's come back to where we need to go from here in just a moment but i want to pick up on one of the interests that you talked about that we haven't delved into get and that is the question of refugees when the german foreign minister was trying to explain why it is that germany decided to mediate
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this conference in berlin with the hope of bringing some kind of political solution forward he said quite bluntly we want to prevent libya becoming a 2nd syria syria has taught europe that instability in the middle east makes itself felt on the other side of the mediterranean. a refugee camp near tripoli after an air strike last july. at least 40 people were killed many others were injured often seriously. in spite of the massive risks they face migrants are still heading for libya either as a destination or a stop on their way to europe. international organizations estimate that anywhere from 700-0021 1000000 migrants are currently inside the war torn country officially only some $43000.00 are registered as refugees they face random arrests abductions forced labor and even torture and. even in the state run reception camps
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human rights activists and diplomats have found catastrophic living conditions many of these migrants see the perilous crossing to europe as preferable to the living hell of the libyan civil war. or the refugees the sole motivation for the german and european union involvement in libya. europe has been studiously looking the other way for a long time in regards to libya or outright meddling as you pointed out but on this point of refugees don't france italy and germany actually have a common interest and could that help propel some kind of progress on finding a political solution well they should shouldn't they i mean. you know the fos of the libyan coast obviously control but people smugglers and so we've we've seen this is no effective there's no way we could implement for instance having camps there to process people and then take them in an orderly fashion to europe
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because the camps of the living hell that your report talked about the fact is that oil drops human life here because the french. they're interested in the oil fields controlled by. the italian any. control by the government and they don't. you know and as for migrants well they would rather be used populist rhetoric at home against against migrants and doing something about that and sacrificing some of their exclusive oil interests it's i mean it's beyond honestly it's beyond belief that civilized european countries should behave like this. a quarter of the german foreign ministers appealed to keep libya from becoming a 2nd syria what does syria teach us in terms of where we go from here what needs to happen now to give a political process toward some form of peacemaking
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a chance i think it should show us that. like conferences do not really i mean talking about the issue and making agreements is like a parallel thing to what's happening in reality we've we've had so many conferences about syria and we've had so many conferences about libya till now and we've seen that in the end we've heard that through the opinions of people in libya that there's some kind of frustration about that because even if they sounded quite pessimistic after the conference quite optimistic after the conference i think in the end we should learn that talking is one thing and what's really happening there is a completely different thing so one of the criticisms of the berlin conference was that yes everybody said they're going to abide by the u.n. weapons in bargo but there was no agreement for example on sanctions against countries that don't to do so and as alan mentioned have got back to libya and promptly started hostilities up again so. how could we how
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could the powers involved actually be driven to keep their word and the e.u. foreign ministers talk now essentially rebooting the so-called sophia naval mission which was originally a mission to enter dike human smugglers and prevent smuggling in the mediterranean now apparently there's an idea it will be reach purposed and become a mission to interdict weapons instead. is that a good alternative could that actually take a step further it should have happened long time ago. it was made since many years ships are coming from turkey and from other countries to the libyan cause and not only weapons drugs all kinds of illegal smuggling and i always wondered why this a few missions before the need to missions before did not look for for the smugglers and i think we have an arms embargo with instance to those 11 germany is heading
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the sanctions committee of the united of the security council so ok it's now late but not too late maybe the thing yes there's a few mission has to stop any ship that is going east or west they could be also control of the of the airports you saw planes coming from the emirates landing in benghazi yesterday and to misrata from turkey the day before so you see 12 days after the conference certainly deliveries of whatever kind are continuing and yeah germany has certainly no no thing to pressure just one thing and this is to hold everybody responsible that we have an i.c.c. in the hake we could do. an extra national criminal court initially yes the chemical he could talk about libya in players being held responsible we have
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a. of experts on libya that is published reports twice a year twice a year all all violations in detail so one has to take this by the hand and publish it and go against each player i think jim diplomats have not more but it's something so just outlined a number of measures that sound at least theoretically feasible allen on the other hand as you have pointed out we have powerful interests let's take just one of those measures this feel naval mission various european countries including germany bailed out of it essentially saying that in its form that it was supposed to interdict human smuggling it was too difficult because the europeans couldn't agree on what to do with those refugees who were then actually stopped in mid ocean so could it work as a as a military mission essentially to internet weapons are we likely to see disjunction
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once again between between the europeans it could work but it won't we have a mission in front of the lebanese coast to stop weapons getting to hizbollah and as a result of that and it's germany which is the leading nation as a result of that. has got more rockets than any european nation right that's that's the way we do business in the mediterranean and it's a disgrace so far we could i mean we're rich countries we have navies of course we could stop weapons getting they have i.c. but i don't think there's any political and especially military will to do so. back to the tide up this peace have a chance and if so how i think it's quite difficult to achieve peace at the moment if we look at the whole situation the whole chaos that is happening there. i must say one other point i want to say is if you have like a controlling mission over there it should be provided that the participating
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countries. aren't the ones that are really. fighting there because it would make any sense so i think achieving peace is very difficult and i think that at the moment i must say i sound a bit pessimistic but i think it's a very very long and very complicated process thank you very much thanks to all of you for being with us today and thanks to all of you there for tuning in i say here we have one more minute on the clock then i'm just going to get the other 2 to weigh in on whether you think peace does have a chance if not short term long term is a very young country only 70 years long an independent country before gadhafi came to power so this is a state building i think that it's not ending a conflict and so i think is a you can union envoy and a new attitude to more firm is needed for the next 20 years not for the next 2 months thank you once again thanks to all of you for being with us and thanks to
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you out there for tuning in see you soon. a real.
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