UN Libya mission reports success in truce talks between warring sides
UN Libya mission on Wednesday reported resumption of truce talks between the warring factions of the country, one headed by warlord General Khalifa Haftar and other by Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. The rival forces entered the third round of ceasefire talks, after a series of attacks conducted by Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) over areas captured by Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) killed many civilians especially around the central coastal city of Sirte.
“The Mission is particularly concerned by reports of escalation and mobilization in and around the city of Sirte”, the U.N. Libya mission said in its statement announcing the talks were under way.
The recent gains by GNA in an attempt to capture Sirte accelerated the conflict as Sarraj’s forces, backed by Turkey, went further east and captured the territory under LNA’s control through air strikes and militant attack. In April 2019, LNA launched its Tripoli campaign and captured the capital besides controlling the eastern part of the country.
The intensification of conflict, especially amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic outbreak and GNA’s recent violation of ceasefire terms, compelled other nations to push forward the truce talks.
Egypt has been one such nation, which took lead in putting forward a peace proposal for Libya. It was submitted by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Monday.
Multiple rounds of peace talks have been conducted to put an end to the civil war which has been burning down the country since 2014. UN negotiators, who met the LNA delegation on June 3 and GNA delegation on June 9, called both the meeting ‘successful’.
The UN Libya report said that the talks allowed “the mission to discuss with the delegations the latest developments on the ground and to receive their comments on the draft ceasefire agreement, as presented by the mission to the parties on February 23.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday welcomed truce talks between the warring factions and urged for swift negotiations to initiate peace process.
“The agreement between the GNA and LNA to re-enter UN security talks was a good first step, very positive,” Mr Pompeo said. “Quick and good-faith negotiations are now required to implement a ceasefire and relaunch the UN-led intra-Libyan political talks.”