France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union welcome ‘‘considerable progress’’ in the UN-facilitated Libya military ceasefire talks in Geneva
By Sami Zaptia.
London, 25 February 2020:
The Embassies of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the Delegation of the European Union issued a joint statement today in which they welcomed the ‘‘considerable progress’’ in the UN-facilitated talks in Geneva toward a ‘‘lasting ceasefire’’ in Libya.
In the statement, they said that they also looked forward to the launch of political negotiations under UN auspices on February 26, as called for in UN Security Council Resolution 2510 (2020).
They added that as responsible Libyans come together in a serious and peaceful dialogue on the issues that divide them and called on all parties to ‘‘reject obstructionism’’ and engage in good faith as Libya moves forward with its democratic transition.
The statement is seen as both support for the head of UNSMIL, Ghassan Salame and a push to any parties thinking of obstructing or stalling the talks. Yesterday, the breakaway members of the House of Representatives based in Tripoli announced that they were boycotting the talks.
On Tuesday 18 February Libya’s internationally recognized government based in Tripoli and led by Faiez Serraj had announced that it was pulling out of the Libyan 5+5 military talks held in Geneva on 23 February. However, the next day the internationally recognized Libyan government backtracked and reversed this decision.
The suspension come after their adversary, the Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Hafter, continued to violate the agreed truce in the Tripoli fighting by bombing Tripoli’s Mitiga airport, Tripoli port and other civilian areas of the capital.
The bombing of Tripoli port was particularly pertinent as it had occurred at the time UNSMIL head Ghassan Salame was brokering the Libya military talks in Geneva and while U.S. Ambassador Norland was meeting with Hafter in eastern Libya.
The internationally recognized Serraj government saw this as the appeasement by the international community of Khalifa Hafter and as his blatant disregard for UN Security Council resolutions, the agreed truce and the agreed Berlin conference outcomes.
The Serraj government added that there can be no peace under bombardment.
Nevertheless, the talks did take part and UNSMIL was able to announce yesterday that a draft ceasefire agreement had been reached at the second round of the Libya military 5+5 talks in Geneva.
The military talks are between the forces of the internationally recognized Libyan government based in Tripoli and forces led by Khalifa Hafter, mainly based in eastern Libya.
UNSMIL had said that the two parties agreed to present the draft agreement to their respective leaderships for further consultations and agreed to meet again in March to resume the discussions and complete the preparation of the Terms of Reference of the sub-committees in charge of the implementation of the agreement.
It will be recalled that Khalifa Hafter and his allied forces launched an attack on Tripoli in April 2019 ostensibly to ‘‘liberate’’ Tripoli from ‘‘militias, Islamists and terrorists’’.