Second day of inter-Libyan negotiations starts in Morocco

Bassem Aly , Monday 7 Sep 2020

'The Libyan delegations, expressing appreciation for Rabat’s mediatory role, will discuss details of the transitional period, restructuring of institutions and representation of the Libyan factions in key power positions'

R- Aguila Saleh. L-Fayez Sarraj
R- Aguila Saleh. L-Fayez Sarraj

The second day of talks between parties to the Libyan conflict started on Monday in Morocco’s coastal town of Bouznika, south of the capital Rabat, in a bid to reach a political settlement.

The talks are attended by representatives of the eastern-based Libyan Parliament and the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.

The Libyan delegations, expressing appreciation for Rabat’s mediatory role, will discuss details of the transitional period, restructuring of institutions and representation of the Libyan factions in key power positions, Sky News Arabia reported.

The negotiations follow official visits to Morocco by the Libyan parliament’s speaker Aguila Saleh and the UN chief’s special representative for political affairs in Libya Stephanie Williams in July and August respectively.

During Williams’ visit to Morocco, she praised the kingdom’s “outreach efforts for the resolution of the Libyan conflict.”

On its first day, talks “went well” and were “positively” concluded, a diplomatic source told Al-Arabiya.

Fathi Al-Meremi, media advisor for the speaker of the Libyan parliament, said that the talks in Bouznika will be followed by another round of meetings in Geneva that will be based on Cairo’s peace initiative and the outcomes of the Berlin conference on Libya, Al-Arabiya reported.

Al-Meremi noted that the talks in Morocco will see an emphasis on the importance of maintaining the ceasefire and the departure of all foreign troops from Libya, including the Turkish ones, terrorist groups and mercenaries.

He added that unifying both political and economic state institutions will also be tackled.

The LNA said on Sunday that it remains committed to the ceasefire that was announced last month.

Speaking to Sky News Arabia on Sunday, spokesperson of the LNA Ahmed Al-Mismari pointed out that fighting has stopped since 8 June, adding that the Libyan factions mainly focus on negotiations in the meantime.

However, Al-Mismari blamed the “other side,” referring to the GNA in Tripoli, for enhancing its military presence in Libya. He said that Turkey, which backs the GNA, seeks to control more ports and airports and transfer more mercenaries to Libya.

“The mercenaries who are transferred from Syria and other states to Libya are dangerous, terrorist elements who are trained to fight in different types of areas,” he warned, adding that the LNA has repeatedly warned that the “enemy will benefit from the ceasefire” and that the international community has been disregarding such developments.

Concerning the talks in Morocco, Al-Mismari—though noting that the LNA’s leadership did not issue a statement about it—said that the LNA always backs peace and security in Libya.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said on Sunday that the Libyan “people want to hear good news,” and stressed that only dialogue can solve the Libyan conflict.

Noting that stability in Libya would positively affect that of Morocco, Bourita said that dialogue between parties to the Libyan conflict represents the way to “trust-building, maturation of ideas and reaching understandings.”

In a press statement, the Moroccan foreign ministry said that the Morocco talks aim to “open negotiations to solve disagreements between the Libyan factions.”

The two major parties to the Libyan conflict are Khalifa Haftar’s (LNA) and the troops of the Tripoli-based GNA.

Egypt, France, Russia and the United Arab Emirates back the LNA—which is allied to the Tobruk-based House of Representatives—while the GNA is backed by Qatar, Turkish troops and thousands of Syrian mercenaries.

In 22 August, both parties to the conflict declared a ceasefire that ended fears about possible GNA aggression against the port city of Sirte, 230 miles (370 kilometres) east of the capital Tripoli, and Al-Jufra, which has a major military airbase.

GNA Premier Fayez Al-Sarraj announced on Facebook that he "issued instructions to all military forces to immediately cease fire and all combat operations in all Libyan territories."

Speaker of the east-based parliament Aguila Saleh also announced a ceasefire, which was welcomed by world leaders.

Both sides agreed to hold elections in March 2021.

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