Merkel meets UAE crown prince ahead of Libya conference
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday met with the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates on the eve of Libyan peace talks in Berlin.
Merkel's spokesman said in a press release that she and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had mainly discussed ongoing efforts for a cease-fire and a political process to end the conflict.
"Both of them welcomed the cease-fire that was achieved a few days ago. They called on the conflicting parties to agree on a permanent cease-fire," spokesman Steffen Seibert said.
He said Merkel and bin Zayed also discussed the need to rebuild Libya's state institutions and reform its security institutions to better combat terrorism and extremism.
"From the point of view of the both, stopping foreign interference in Libya's internal affairs is a necessary condition for this," he stressed.
The UAE, together with Egypt, has been one of the key supporters of Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar, who began a major military offensive last April to capture Tripoli from the UN-recognized government.
According to the UN, more than 1,000 people have been killed since the start of the offensive and over 5,000 others injured.
Seibert said bin Zayed told Merkel that he would not be able to attend Sunday's Libya conference in Berlin, but that the UAE would send its foreign minister on his behalf.
Merkel had invited leaders from Turkey, Russia, the U.S., China, France, Britain, and other regional actors to a single-day conference in Berlin on Sunday, amid a fragile cease-fire between Libya's internationally recognized government and forces loyal to Haftar.
On Jan. 12, the warring sides of the Libyan conflict announced a cease-fire in response to a joint call by Turkish and Russian leaders.
But talks for a permanent cease-fire deal ended without an agreement on Monday after Haftar left Moscow without signing the deal.
Both Libya's international recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and renegade commander Haftar are expected to take part in the Berlin conference.
Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the UAE, and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.