Politics & Economics

GNA Withdraws From Geneva Talks After LNA Bombs Tripoli Port

North Africa

Libya's Tripoli-based Government of National Accord withdrew from the upcoming UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva after Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army bombard the main port of Tripoli.

Despite many diplomatic efforts, peace in Libya remains elusive. The on-going ceasefire talks in Geneva between the United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) have been suspended after GNA officials left the talks. Their departure came after the LNA bombed the port of Tripoli earlier this week.

The GNA has accused the LNA of repeated ceasefire violations, accusing the international sponsors of not holding ceasefire violators accountable. It further stated that it would not be rejoining the UN-sponsored talks in Geneva until more concrete action against violations is taken. LNA officials, meanwhile, justified the bombing of the port on the grounds that it targeted an ammunition depot. Some outlets also claimed that the bombing of the port came during the disembarkation of a ship carrying weapons and equipment from Turkey.

According to port officials, all ships, including an oil tanker, have since been removed from the port as a safety measure.

The head of the UN Special Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Ghassan Salame, lamented the suspension of the talks in Geneva, noting that it is difficult to negotiate peace talks amidst constant ceasefire violations and clashes. Adding that the situation is highly volatile and fragile, Salameh nevertheless said that neither the GNA nor the LNA have rejected the talks or the ceasefire agreement, expressing hope that talks between the two sides can continue.

While both sides, on paper, agree to the ceasefire, how that ceasefire can be implemented remains unclear. A European delegation recently requested to monitor weapons being shipped to the GNA in violation of the embargo applying to the whole of Libya. However, these requests have largely been rejected by the Tripoli-based Government. The matter of arms proliferation in an ever-unstable Libya has been one of the main concerns in the country, with fears that this can make the implementation of a ceasefire harder.