The Berlin conference on the Libyan crisis was held on January 19th. The conference is one in a series of international meetings on Libya, which have taken place in Paris, Palermo, Abu Dhabi and Moscow, where talks were held on January 13th. Although it is not the first conference to address the crisis, it has been the most important so far, due to several considerations.
The conference was distinguished by its degree of representation; it included all parties affected by the crisis, both within the region and internationally. Four international organizations and twelve countries participated in the conference, including the five permanent members of the Security Council. Nine of them were represented by heads of state and government, in a first-of-a-kind precedent. There is no doubt that President Putin's participation was a key factor that encouraged other leaders to attend, turning the conference into an "international summit" on Libya. This helped facilitate a consensus among the different parties and the convergence of conflicting positions, even within Europe, between France and Italy.
Finally, the conference affirms the role of the United Nations in resolving the crisis and stopping any individual initiatives by any country. This includes the Italian proposal to send European forces to monitor the ceasefire. The final statement of the conference is to be presented to the UN Security Council for approval and a binding resolution. This includes a monitoring mechanism for following up on the implementation of the promised commitments, which will start in early February. Also, it launches a direct dialogue between the Libyan parties in three basic respects. It addressed the military aspect through the formation of a committee (5 + 5) comprising of five representatives for each Libyan party, Al-Sarraj's GNA and Haftar's LNA. It will discuss the detailed issues related to the ceasefire. The economic aspect will deal with the Libyan Central Bank, the distribution of oil revenues, and the management of oil fields. The third aspect is the political one, the progress of which remains subject to the overall progress of the deal.
The Libyan crisis is one of the most complicated. No single conference can settle all the issues involved. TheBerlin conference did not achieve all the expected results, but it prevented the crisis from worsening. It may also be a step ahead in the long road to a settlement of the Libyan crisis.