UN envoy says push continues toward cease-fire deal in Libya

AP , Thursday 6 Feb 2020

U.N. Envoy
U.N. Envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame holds a news briefing after a meeting of the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission in Geneva, Switzerland, February 6, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)

The UN's special representative for Libya said Thursday the country's warring sides are working to turn a provisional cease-fire into a formal agreement as they emerged from four days of talks.

Ghassan Salame, head of the United Nations support mission in Libya, said rival military leaders are negotiating the remaining sticking points in a cease-fire deal.

Those include the return of internally displaced people, the disarmament of armed groups and ways to monitor the truce.

"The cease-fire agreement is made of a number of issues, and there have been points of convergence on many points. And there are points of divergence,'' Salame told reporters in Geneva.

According to Salame, the United Nations expects eastern Libyan tribes leaders to submit by Thursday their list of conditions to reopen blocked oil terminals.

The latest round of fighting in oil-rich Libya erupted last April when eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) under the command of Gen. Khalifa Haftar laid siege to Tripoli in a bid to wrest power from the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj.

Sarraj and Haftar both sent delegations of military officials to represent them at the Geneva talks.

The cease-fire talks come amid intensified diplomacy among world powers seeking to end the conflict that has ravaged Libya for nine years.

LNA forces, which control much of Libya's east and south, rely on military assistance from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia. On the other side, Turkey, Italy and Qatar prop up the embattled Tripoli-based government.

World powers have deplored the reality on the ground and pledged to uphold a widely flouted UN arms embargo at a peace summit last month in Berlin. But continued violations of the ban have dimmed hopes that international players in Libya can resolve the crisis.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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