Libya’s warring sides meet for face-to-face talks | Libya

The three-day meeting of the joint military commission takes place weeks after the rivals signed the ceasefire agreement.

According to the United Nations, military officers from Libya’s warring factions have arrived in the oasis city of Ghadames for their first personal talks in the country since the months-long attack by armed forces from the east on the capital last year.

The three-day meeting, which began Monday, is expected to focus on the implementation of the ceasefire agreement signed last month between the internationally recognized government in Tripoli and the self-proclaimed Libyan national army of breakaway military commander Khalifa Haftar.

The Libyan envoy of the United Nations, Stephanie Williams, is also present at the talks in Ghadames, some 465 km southwest of Tripoli, far from the bases of power on both sides.

Libya, a major oil producer, has been ravaged by violence since a NATO-backed uprising in 2011, toppling and killing veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Since then, the North African country has been dominated by armed groups ravaged by local conflict and divided between two bitterly opposing governments: Tripoli UN-brokered National Agreement Government (GNA) led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and a rival administration in the East connected to Haftar.

The meeting of the Joint Military Commission follows on from an October 23 agreement, when the two warring parties signed a “permanent” ceasefire agreement designed to pave the way for a political solution to the country’s serious conflict.

The talks are part of a longstanding peace mediation effort.

Haftar, supported by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, launched an offensive against Tripoli in April 2019, but was repulsed by the GNA with military support from Turkey in June.

In September, belligerent factions returned to the negotiating table in UN-backed talks. The negotiations took place in Morocco, Egypt and Switzerland.

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