Libya's forces declare key coastroad open

Reuters , Friday 30 Jul 2021

The Government of National Unity, picked through a UN-aided process early this year and then ratified by the eastern-based parliament, took office in March

Libyan security officers stand on a truck during the re-opening of the cross road across the frozen frontline between east and west in Libya, June 20, 2021. REUTERS

Libya's warring sides said on Friday they had reopened the main coastroad across the frontline, a key element of a ceasefire they agreed last year that has involved months of negotiations.

The U.N.-backed 5+5 committee drawn from commander Khalifa Haftar's eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) and western-based forces that have supported Tripoli-based governments said in a statement the road was open from 0900 GMT.

It was not open to military traffic, the committee said, and the agreement also included some preparatory steps for the withdrawal of foreign fighters, another part of last year's ceasefire that has still to be implemented.

The slow progress in opening the road has reflected other stumbles in the U.N.-backed effort to resolve Libya's long conflict with a ceasefire, a unity government, proposed elections and moves to unify economic institutions.

The Government of National Unity (GNU), picked through a U.N.-aided process early this year and then ratified by the eastern-based parliament, took office in March.

However, since that point there has been little agreement on key steps forwards including on a constitutional basis for the elections scheduled in December and for the GNU's budget.

Parliament speaker Aguila Saleh and his allies in eastern Libya meanwhile accused the GNU of becoming "a Tripoli government" and blamed it for the failure to unify institutions.

Last week Saleh warned that a failure to hold elections meant another rival administration could be set up in the east.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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