“Latest Developments in Libya: Finding a Way Forward”
Thursday, 28 May 2020 from 14.30 to 16.00 CET
As the world struggles to adapt to the coronavirus outbreak, many pre-existing conflicts have continued unabated. In Libya, the pandemic crisis has effectively provided cover for escalating the conflict. In recent weeks, the forces of the Government of National Accord (GNA) have been regaining lost ground with the support of Turkey, through intelligence-sharing, military supply as well as air strikes and soldiers in the form of redirected fighters from Syria. Meanwhile, Haftar’s “Libyan National Army” (LNA), who stepped up fighting last April to capture Tripoli, has been pushed back, creating new realities on the ground.
On 27 April, Haftar announced a “self-proclaimed” popular mandate to take control of the entire nation, followed by an offer of a temporary truce for the holy month of Ramadan, the latter of which was rejected by the GNA. Meanwhile the EU’s new Operation Irina, a replacement for Operation Sophia, has been launched in the Mediterranean Sea to monitor the flaunted-UN arms embargo. However, this has been rejected by the GNA, who claim the action does little to halt arms across land borders.
Finally, with 64 confirmed cases as of 6 May 2020, the situation of COVID-19 on war-torn Libya continues to cast a worrying shadow over these developments. The Libyan health sector faces severe and chronic issues of underfinancing, and risks from the effects of war such as shelling and other targeted attacks on medical buildings, staff, and patients. With an increase in cases of coronavirus, and with a lack of cooperation between rival governments on the issue, there is still a genuine risk of a catastrophic outbreak.
In light of these developments, this event seeks to facilitate a constructive debate and provide a forum to discuss the recent developments in Libya, the EU’s response to the crisis, the intervening factor of a potentially devastating outbreak of COVID-19, and whether these factors will strengthen or weaken prospects for lasting peace. Participants will discuss what steps the international community could, or should, do for the Libyan crisis with an aim towards constructive policy recommendations.
Participants will be invited to share their questions and comments in writing during the event.
- Rosamaria Gili, Acting Director and Head of Division, Maghreb, European External Action Service
- Kasper Engborg, Acting Head of Office for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Libya
- Tim Eaton, Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
- Lorenzo Marinone, Senior Analyst for the Middle East and North Africa Desk at Ce.S.I. – Centro Studi Internazionali
- Rhiannon Smith, Managing Director of Libya-Analysis