UN envoy meets Haftar in revived Libya peace process

Jan Kubis says the country is heading towards 'reconciliation and unity' after years of bloodshed

(FILES) This file image grab taken from a video published by the War Information Division of military strongman Khalifa Haftar's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) on April 28, 2020 shows Haftar giving a speech, saying he had "a popular mandate" to govern the country, declaring a key 2015 political deal over and vowing to press his assault to seize Tripoli. Ten years after Libya's NATO-backed uprising ousted and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi, the country remains wracked by conflict and chaos, its population bled dry despite the nation's vast oil wealth. A UN-led process has lifted cautious hopes that the latest fragile ceasefire will bring a lasting peace, but, for now, Libya is split in two by rival camps with their own militias, mercenaries and foreign backers. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / LNA WAR INFORMATION DIVISION" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
 / AFP / LNA War Information Division / - / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / LNA WAR INFORMATION DIVISION" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

UN peace envoy Jan Kubis met Libyan military commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday in a renewed drive to bring peace to the country.

The UN said 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 between rival governments in the east and west.

Mr Kubis declared that Libya was "back on the path of reconciliation and unity" at the talks, the UN said.

"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," it said.

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 became deadlocked 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 Government of National Accord, based in Tripoli.

UN spokesman Farhan Haq said the UN was still not ready to send monitors to ensure the ceasefire was being followed.

Mr Kubis this week spoke to key Libyan political figures in a bid to speed up plans to send UN ceasefire monitors and bolster the interim government's efforts to unite the 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 Dbeibah was this month elected interim prime minister by Libyan delegates at UN-led talks near Geneva. The delegates also elected a three-member Presidential Council that, along with Mr Dbeibah, will lead Libya towards the vote.

Libya fell into chaos after a Nato-backed uprising in 2011 toppled leader Muammar Qaddafi. The country has been split between an administration in the east and the Government of National Accord in the west.

Last Wednesday, Libyans marked the 10th anniversary of the start of that uprising.

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