Libya's warring factions agree to further talks over ceasefire

UN has proposed representatives meet later in February in Geneva

epa08198168 Ghassan Salame, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, informs the media about the meeting of the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, 06 February 2020.  EPA/MARTIAL TREZZINI
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Libya’s warring factions will meet again this month as they continue talks to find a lasting ceasefire in a fight for control of the capital Tripoli.

The Government of National Accord in Tripoli and the forces of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar put forward five military officers from their respective sides to engage in indirect, UN-hosted talks in Geneva, Switzerland.

Fighting has calmed down since last month, although skirmishes with artillery have continued in southern Tripoli, which the Field Marshal’s forces have been unable to breach.

“Both sides expressed their support to ongoing exchanges of prisoners and returns of mortal remains, and welcomed the support of the UN mission in this process, whenever the need arises,” the mission said.

They agreed to continue the dialogue, with the UN proposing a follow-up meeting on February 18, also in Geneva.

“While both sides agree to the need to expedite the return of internally displaced people to their homes, particularly in the areas affected by clashes, a full understanding could not be reached on optimal ways to restore normalcy to these areas,” the mission said.

The UN mission gave no update on efforts to end a blockade of oil ports and oilfields by forces and tribesmen loyal to Field Marshal Haftar’s forces.

At a summit in Berlin last month, world leaders committed to ending all foreign interference in the country and to uphold a weapons embargo to help end the long-running civil war.

The oil-rich country has been torn by fighting between rival factions since a 2011 Nato-backed uprising killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi and toppled his regime.

More recently, Field Marshal Haftar's forces launched an assault in April on the GNA's troops in Tripoli.