Libya: As Libya Talks Resume in Geneva, UN Negotiator Seeks to Overcome Sticking Points

Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Support MIssion in Libya, briefs the press at the meeting of the 5+5 Libyan Joint Commission in Geneva in February 2020.
18 February 2020

Talks to end fighting in Libya have resumed in Geneva, where UN negotiator Ghassan Salamé said that ongoing clashes must end for there to be a chance for progress.

Speaking to reporters at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Mr. Salamé, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Libya, said that the port of Tripoli had been attacked earlier on Tuesday.

"As long as these violations are frequent, it's very, very hard to think of quiet negotiations between the two parties on any one of the three tracks we are trying to push forward."

The UN envoy, who is facilitating discussions of the parties to the Libyan Joint Military Commission, or the 5+5 talks, added that an arms embargo on Libya has continued to be violated in the North African nation.

Since last April, the UN-recognized Government of National Accord, based in the capital, has been engaged in conflict with the self-styled Libyan National Army. The Commission is compiled of five delegates appointed by each side.

During a break in the talks, Mr. Salamé appealed for an open-minded approach from both parties.

He insisted that concessions needed to be made concerning the return of former fighters to their communities.

Specifically, this involved deciding on what kind of military monitoring was needed, who was going to do it and whether they would be armed or unarmed.

Further questions include deciding what to do with the large amount of heavy weaponry in Libya, what should happen to non-regular fighters, and who should be in charge of the police force.

Detailed answers to these questions were how the truce could be translated into a lasting ceasefire, Mr. Salamé said.

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