The organizers of January’s Berlin conference on Libya snubbed Morocco by failing to include the country despite its prominent role in the political process to end the conflict.
Rabat – Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita reportedly declined an invitation from his counterpart in Germany to participate in a meeting about Libya that took place on Monday.
Bourita received the invitation for the virtual meeting on September 30. The videoconference saw the attendance of UN chief Antonio Guterres and German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass, but another Moroccan official participated in lieu of Bourita.
Sources knowledgeable about the dossier described to news outlet Le360 Mass’ invitation as an “explicit recognition of the crucial role” that Morocco has played and its efforts to find a consensus to end the conflict.
The recognition, however, seems late in coming. The organizers of the Berlin conference, held in January, excluded Morocco despite its pivotal role over the years.
“Do they believe that such a dark page is turned so quickly?” the sources asked, describing the decision to exclude Morocco from the first Libya-centered conference in Germany as an error.
“Do they think that Morocco would jump at the ‘opportunity’ that they believe is offering today? If so, here they are making another error in judgment,” the sources argued.
In January, Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release to express “astonishment” at its exclusion from the conference.
“Rabat played a decisive role in the conclusion of the Skhirat agreements, which are, to date, the only political framework – supported by the Security Council and accepted by all Libyan parties – for the resolution of the crisis in this brotherly Maghreb country,” the statement said.
The ministry also expressed shock over the criteria and the motivations behind the choice of countries who participated in the meeting.
“The host country of this conference, which is far from the [Maghreb] region and the complexities of the Libyan crisis, cannot transform it into an instrument for the promotion of its national interests.”
Reda El Fellah, a professor of international law at Ibn Zohr University in Agadir, said Bourita’s decision to reject Mass’ invitation to the latest Berlin meeting shows his position regarding the January snub.
El Fellah told Morocco World News that the foreign minister’s decision not to attend Monday’s video conference also mirrors Morocco’s opposition to “the interests that are leading foreign powers to interfere negatively in Libyan affairs.”
Morocco has long condemned foreign interference in the Libya dossier.
El Fellah also argued that the Berlin conference excluded Libyan parties during the meeting, which raises questions about the motive of the gathering.
“The Berlin track reflects rather a geopolitical bargaining between those foreign powers on the future of Libya, and certainly not for the future of Libya,” he said.
Like Moroccan officials, the analyst agrees that a lasting solution to end the crisis should be based on the free will of Libyan parties.
Morocco’s “Bouznika format guarantees this fundamental condition, contrasting with the Berlin approach, which gives the priority to political agendas related to regional hegemony, and geopolitical positioning,” El Fellah told MWN.
The analyst also believes Morocco has the political weight and international legitimacy to play a “positive and constructive role in solving the Libyan crisis.”
Despite Germany’s decision to exclude Morocco from January’s Berlin conference, Rabat has repeatedly expressed its commitment to contribute to the initiatives seeking a solution to the crisis in Libya.
The recent Moroccan initiative to host delegations from Libya for talks in Bouznika demonstrates its determination to contribute to the UN-led political process.
From October 2-6, Morocco convened for a second time delegations from Libya’s High Council of State and the House of Representatives in the city of Bouznika.
At the end of talks, the delegations signed an agreement on the main mechanism for appointments to sovereign positions.
The agreement is in line with Article 15 of the Skhirat political agreement on the mechanisms and criteria for appointments to state leadership positions, including within the Central Bank of Libya and the Audit Bureau.
Delegations from the two Libyan parties expressed satisfaction with the outcomes of the talks, saying they “constitute a contribution on which it is possible to capitalize to establish stability in the country and end the institutional division.”
The parties also renewed determination to continue meeting in Morocco to find a lasting political solution for the common good.
“The dialogue sessions were distinguished by a spirit of national responsibility which gave priority to the common good and this, in order to overcome the current political division,” the delegations underlined.