UN says Libya peace talks will go ahead, despite denials from rival groups

UN says Libya peace talks will go ahead, despite denials from rival groups
Peace talks between Libya's rival group will go ahead on Wednesday 'as planned', the UN's Libya mission has said.
2 min read
25 February, 2020
Libya's rivals powers had said they would not be participating in the talks [Getty]

The UN's Libya mission insisted Tuesday that planned peace talks in Geneva would go ahead this week, after rival sides separately said they would not take part in negotations.

The announcement came after Libya's High State Council - the equivalent of a senate - said it would not participate in the talks set for Wednesday until progress was made in military negotiations.

A rival parliament based in eastern Libya, backed by rogue military commander Khalifa Haftar, said it would not take part because the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) had not approved all of its representatives.

But UNSMIL spokesman Jean Alam told AFP that the "Libyan Political Dialogue will start tomorrow as planned".

The talks are set to bring together 13 delegates each from the parliament and the High State Council, along with other figures invited by UN envoy Ghassan Salame.

Haftar's forces launched an offensive against Tripoli, the seat of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), last April. 

His fighters have since stalled on the edges of the capital, but fighting has left over a thousand people dead, according to the UN.

A joint military commission with five members from each side wound up talks Sunday in the Swiss city with a "draft ceasefire agreement" to be finalised in March, according to the UN mission.

Read also: Fighter loyal to warlord Libya's Haftar kill 16 Turkish soldiers

Libya has been rocked by violence since a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 overthrew and killed veteran dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Since 2015, the UN-recognised Government of National Accord, based in Tripoli, has been vying with Haftar's forces for control.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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