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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - NIAMEY - Victims of increasing jihadist attacks, African states bordering Libya are pushing for more say in efforts to end the crisis in their northern neighbor whose conflict risks becoming a growing source of regional instability.
European powers, Turkey and Russia will join a Libya peace conference in Berlin this weekend, the latest international effort to end fighting between eastern commander Khalifa Haftar and the UN-recognized government in Tripoli.
African Union Chairman Moussa Faki will also join the Berlin talks hoping to bring a focus on the continent's perspective, but it will not be an easy mission.
"The neighboring countries like Chad, Sudan, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, fellow AU members and beyond are suffering the consequences" of the crisis, said Ebba Kalondo, Faki's spokeswoman.
"The AU has consistently asked for a more central role in the processes underway, but has consistently been ignored."
Sahel and African nations have long been at the sharp end of Libya's crisis.
After the NATO-backed rebellion ousted and killed dictator Muamer Gaddafi in 2011, Libya collapsed into a conflict of competing armed factions vying for control.
In the chaos, Islamist militants and migrant smugglers expanded their influence.
Libya's security vacuum allowed the spread of fighters, arms and explosives across its borders into Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, which face increasing jihadist violence despite a regional campaign to counter Islamist militancy.
The North African state remains in chaos, mostly split now between Haftar's forces in the east and the UN-recognized government in Tripoli.
"The international community is responsible for what is happening to us through its disastrous decision to intervene in Libya," Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou said in December, referring to the 2011 NATO campaign.
"Libya is African, we cannot solve the Libyan problem by keeping the AU on the sidelines," he told AFP.
Chad President Idriss Deby said solving Sahel violence was directly linked to ending Libya's instability.
"Libya's chaos... remains the main source of destabilization for the whole of the Sahel," he said in Rome in December.
In 2019, jihadist attacks killed 4,000 people in Burkina, Mali and Niger, despite the presence of several thousand French troops, a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali and the G5 Sahel cooperation among the armies of five regional nations.
"Africa is looking to get more of a hearing now with the deterioration of the security situation in the Sahel," a Western diplomat said. -AFP
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