Friday, September 24, 2021

Germany reopens mission in Libya

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Ambassador Michael Ohnmacht and President Mohammed El Menfi – Picture by Unity Government of Libya.

Thursday, 9 September 2021, Tripoli, State of Libya: Germany’s Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas was in Tripoli to re-open the country’s diplomatic mission two days after the formal accreditation of the country’s top envoy in Libya, Ambassador Michael Ohnmacht

Maas spoke during his opening remarks of  a ‘new chapter’ in German-Libyan relations, seven years after the previous German chancery was shut down, another one is opening to aid Libya’s Unity Government in the colossal task of re-building the country. Elections have been set for 24 December of this year, after a government recognised by the international community was formed in the spring. There are still many open questions as to the constitutional framework for the elections, and its modus operandi

The German Embassy had been abandoned in 2014, and its operations moved to Tunisia thereafter.

In 2018 German diplomats resumed working visits to Libya, and since 2020 they had been able to serve on Libyan soil for approximately one week monthly. The chancery’s edifice is shared with the Dutch Embassy as well as an Italian demining mission. 

During the II Libya Conference hosted back in June in Berlin by the German Federal Government, foreign powers agreed to support the departure of foreign mercenaries active in the country, however, the latter is yet to materialize. Approximately 18,000 mercenaries and foreign troops are currently active in Libya, albeit the UN, Germany and other countries are attempting to clear them out of the country. 

The German reactivation of its diplomatic mission is deemed by international experts as a possible step to re-opening a mission in Kabul, Afghanistan, in the future. Heiko Maas has reiterated that such step will only be taken with the support of the international community. Currently Qatar is a protector power for various European countries, and the U.S.A. in Kabul. 

Germany’s top envoy in Tripoli is Ambassador Michael Ohnmacht, who speaks fluent Arabic and hitherto had been serving as the Head of the Middle East Department at the German Foreign Office (2017-2021). He presented his credentials to the Chairman of Libya’s Presidential Council, Mohammed Yunus El Menfi, on Tuesday, 7 September 2021. 

Ambassador Ohnmacht joined the diplomatic service in 1998, and has hitherto served in Palestina, Lebanon, France, Saudi Arabia and now in Libya. 

For further information 

German Embassy in Libya (HE Ambassador Michael Ohnmacht): https://tripolis.diplo.de/ly-de/botschaft/-/2015260
German Foreign Office: https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/aussenpolitik/laenderinformationen/libyen-node/maas-libya/2480980https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/newsroom/news/maas-tripoli/2480970

Allocution of German Foreign Minister Maas at the opening of the German Embassy in Tripoli: https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/newsroom/news/maas-embassy-libya/2481052

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