Libya’s rivals urge Security Council to back ceasefire

CAIRO - Two sides call on Security Council to adopt a binding resolution to implement truce deal inked in Geneva last month


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Stephanie Williams, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya.
Stephanie Williams, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya.

Published: Wed 4 Nov 2020, 3:13 PM

Libya’s rivals wrapped up their military talks with a call to the UN Security Council to adopt a binding resolution to implement a ceasefire deal inked last month, the UN said.

The two-day talks in the oasis town of Ghadames, which concluded late Tuesday, were the first face-to-face negotiations inside Libya since last year’s months-long attack on the capital by forces loyal to the east-based military commander Khalifa Hafter.

The two sides agreed to meet again in the contested coastal city of Site sometime in November, and to form a sub-committee to oversee the return of all Libyan forces to their camps, as mentioned in the October 23 cease-fire reached in Geneva, the UN support mission in Libya said.

“This is the beginning of a process that is going to require determination, courage, confidence and a lot of work,” said the head of the UN support mission for Libya, Stephanie Williams, who headed the Ghadames talks.

She said they have discussed in detail a monitoring mechanism to implement the ceasefire agreement, which includes the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries from the oil-rich country within three months.

The agreement also called for “military deals on training inside Libya” to be frozen and for foreign trainees to leave the country. It did not name a particular country but apparently referred to Turkey, which has sent forces and mercenaries to train and fight alongside forces loyal to the UN-supported government in the west.

Libya is split between a UN-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities based in the east. The two sides are backed by an array of local militias as well as regional and foreign powers. The country was plunged into chaos after the 2011 Nato-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gadhafi.

“The onus, the responsibility is on the shoulders of those countries and elements that are responsible for bringing those mercenaries and forces to Libya; they must respect the Libyan request,” said Williams.

The two sides urged the UN Security Council to urgently adopt a resolution on the implementation of the cease-fire deal, which the UN mission has billed as historic.

Thousands of foreign fighters, including Russians, Syrians, Sudanese and Chadians, have been brought to Libya by both sides, according to UN experts. In Geneva last month, the two sides also agreed on exchanging prisoners and opening up air and land transit across the country’s divided territory.

Williams said two sides hope to resume flights between Libya’s south and elsewhere in the country.

She also said oil production has been resumed after months-long closure of oil fields and terminals by tribes loyal to Hafter. The east-based military commander announced an end to the oil blockade in September.

Citing Libya’s National Oil Corporation, Williams said that production has reached 800,000 barrels a day. Before Hafter’s attack on Tripoli in April 2019, Libya’s oil production was at 1.2 million barrels a day.

A meeting on restructuring the oil facilities guard is scheduled for Nov. 16, with the UN mission and the oil company attending, Williams said.

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