World, Africa

Libya commission meets in Geneva for day 2 of talks

UN Libya Envoy Ghassan Salame says he met the warring sides separately in Geneva

Peter Kenny   | 04.02.2020
Libya commission meets in Geneva for day 2 of talks


A joint military commission representing Libya’s UN-recognized government and eastern Libyan forces will meet in Geneva for a second day to help turn the current truce into a "full-fledged ceasefire," said the UN’s Libya envoy Tuesday.

At a press conference in Geneva before the 5+5 commission’s talks were to resume, Ghassan Salame praised Turkey and Russia’s “achievement” in reaching a truce meant to grow into a cease-fire and lasting peace.

On Jan. 12, Libya’s conflicting parties announced a truce in response to a joint call by the Turkish and Russian leaders. However, talks for a permanent cease-fire ended without an agreement after eastern-based warlord Khalifa Haftar left Moscow without signing the deal.

“There is a genuine will for both parties to sit together,” said Salame.

“There were many attempts to sort of formalize the acceptance of the truce into something formal, but there was a reluctance, especially on the part of Mr. Haftar.

“Both sides have come to Geneva, and we started yesterday to discuss a long list of points on our agenda to make the truce into a more solid one, less often violated, and also into a lasting truce that can be transformed into a cease-fire,” he said.

He said he had met with them separately and hoped they would agree to meet later face to face.

Haftar agreed at a Berlin conference last month to designate members to the UN-proposed military commission with five members from each side – the 5+5 – to monitor implementation of the cease-fire.

“We are not leaving aside any of the questions that are necessary to have a lasting cease-fire,” said Salame.

There are three tracks involved in the talks, said the UN envoy, and the military and security situation to seek a lasting cease-fire will be the focus in Geneva.

Talks on an economic track for Libya will take place in Cairo on Feb. 9, and later talks of a political nature may follow later in Geneva.

Salame said he wants UN states to support the process for Libya to resume onshore oil products, which had slipped to 72,000 barrels a day offshore from a previous 1.3 million barrels a day both on and offshore.

All parties at the Berlin conference had asked Libya's Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj and warlord Khalifa Haftar, who were in Berlin but not at the conference, "to extend the truce in order for us to give a chance for diplomacy."

The Jan. 21 Berlin agreement commits the signatories not to interfere in Libya's civil war, to support a cease-fire, to honor a widely broken UN arms embargo, and to support a UN-facilitated political process, Salame said at the time of the agreement.

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