UN envoy meets Haftar in revived Libya peace process
Posted – 20th February 2021
UN peace envoy Jan Kubis met with Libyan military commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday in a renewed drive to bring peace to the war-ravaged North African oil exporter.
Mr Kubis called for the bolstering of a shaky October ceasefire between the country’s warring forces that has offered Libyans hope after years of war and chaos between rival governments in the east and west, the UN said.
The Slovak diplomat declared that Libya was “back on the path of reconciliation and unity” at the talks, the UN said in a statement.
“Discussions focused on ways to expedite the full implementation of the ceasefire agreement … including the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries as well as the unification of the military and security institutions,” said the statement.
The men also “discussed ways to expedite the opening of the coastal road” around the Mediterranean city of Sirte, where the most recent bout of fighting between Libya’s warring forces ground to a deadlock last year.
Mr Kubis met Field Marshal Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, alongside members of a military commission that includes envoys from the rival administration, the Government of National Accord.
UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters that the officials “focused on ways to expedite the full implementation of the ceasefire”, but that the UN was still not ready to send monitors to ensure the truce was being followed.
Mr Kubis this week met and spoke with key Libyan political figures in a bid to speed the deployment of UN ceasefire monitors and bolster the new interim government’s efforts to unite a divided country through national elections on December 24.
Since starting work on February 8, Mr Kubis has also spoken with diplomats and ministers from the UK, Germany, France, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, France, Russia, Switzerland, Qatar and other countries with a stake in Libya.
Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah was this month elected prime minister by Libyan delegates at UN-led talks near Geneva. The delegates also elected a three-member Presidential Council, which, along with Mr Dbeibah, will lead Libya towards the important vote.
Libya fell into chaos after a Nato-backed uprising in 2011 toppled leader Col Muammar Gaddafi. The country has been split between Field Marshal Haftar’s forces in the east and the UN-recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli. Libyans on Wednesday marked the 10th anniversary of the start of that uprising.
THE NATIONAL – James Reini
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