Politics & Economics

Libya: Geneva Talks Between Military Representatives Reach Conclusion

North Africa

Geneva talks between representatives of the two rival Libyan factions have ended without a deal on a ceasefire, so a second round of negotiations has been proposed for February 18.

Talks between representatives of Libya’s warring parties at the Libyan Joint Military Commission in Geneva have ended without a deal on a ceasefire. However, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has proposed a second round of negotiations for February 18, as both parties are keen to reach a ceasefire agreement.

Five senior military officials from the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and five from Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) convened last week in Geneva in the hopes of ending the conflict. Fighting intensified in April of last year when the LNA launched an offensive to seize the Libyan capital, Tripoli, from the GNA.

UNSMIL thanked the two parties for their positive spirit throughout the talks in a statement on Saturday. They noted the consensus between both sides on many issues, including protection of Libyan borders and the end to the flow of non-Libyan fighters into the country. Both sides also expressed support for the ongoing exchange of prisoners and return of mortal remains of those killed in the conflict.

However, Ghassan Salame, head of UNSMIL, noted that there were “points of divergence”. While both sides agreed on the need to expedite the return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), a full understanding was not reached on the best methods to achieve this, or how to achieve a return to normal life in affected areas.

Although the rivals agreed to a ceasefire in January, both factions have faced accusations of breaching the truce. The UN has announced that whilst a full understanding was not agreed at the Commission, efforts should continue to be made to maintain the truce and refrain from violating it.

The Military Commission is one of three broader strategies UNSMIL is taking in order to solve the Libyan crisis, along with economic and political tracks. Further talks in Cairo are focused on the economic aspect of the conflict, with the oil crisis set to take centre stage.