Peace talks: Military rivals meet in Libya

Rival Libyan military officers arrived Monday for talks held for the first time on home soil following a ceasefire deal last month, an AFP reporter said.

Formal talks will begin later on Monday evening, said the AFP reporter present, with discussions tackling the “implementation of the ceasefire agreement,” according to the UN.

The three-day meeting of the joint military commission is taking place in Ghadames, a desert oasis some 465 kilometres (290 miles) southwest of the capital Tripoli.

The remote area, near Libya’s borders with both Algeria and Tunisia, is far from the power bases of either side.

The UN’s Libya envoy Stephanie Williams is also present.

The meeting follows an October 23 deal when the two warring factions signed a “permanent” ceasefire deal intended to pave the way towards a political solution to the country’s grinding conflict.

The North African nation, with the continent’s largest proven crude oil reserves, has been wracked by conflict for nearly a decade, since the overthrow and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

It has since been dominated by armed groups and divided between two bitterly-opposed administrations: the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli, and a rival administration in the east backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

The talks are part of long-running efforts to broker peace.

Haftar, backed by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, launched an offensive on Tripoli in April 2019, but was beaten back in June by the GNA with military support from Turkey.

Warring factions returned to the negotiating table in September in UN-supported talks, with negotiations being held in Morocco, Egypt and Switzerland.

On November 9, the political leaders are due to hold face-to-face talks in Tunisia.

AFP

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