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article imageOp-Ed: UN sets new Libya peace talks January 6

By Ken Hanly     Dec 25, 2014 in Politics
Tripoli - Peace talks held under UN auspices in September in Ghadames made virtually no progress. There are now two rival governments supported by rival military forces. The new talks are scheduled for January 6.
The UN envoy to Libya, Bernadino Leon, has reported to the UN Security Council that the two main rival groups have agreed to a road map designed to dampen the conflict that has split the country into warring factions and governments. The Tripoli government has as prime minister, Omar al-Hassi, while the internationally recognized government that was elected in June is located in the far east in the city of Tobruk with the prime minister, Abdullah al-Thinni.
The militia of CIA-linked General Khalifa Haftar is now merged with the Libyan armed forces and the Tobruk government has made him head of the armed forces. On November 6th the Libyan Supreme Court declared that the June elections were unconstitutional and that the Tobruk government should be dissolved. The Tobruk government rejected the ruling and the international community shows no sign that it is paying any attention to it either. However, the UN has for the first time invited representatives of the Tripoli government to the peace talks. In some recent statements the UN speaks of parties to the conflict and does not speak specifically of the Libyan government.
Chadian ambassador to the UN, Mahamat Cherif, told reporters that the Council urged both parties to accept an immediate cease-fire. The Council was also concerned about the flow of arms into the country. As usual there was no mention of who was supplying arms to which parties. So far neither party has paid any attention to the UN demand for a cease fire as a condition for the success of any dialogue. The Al-Thinni government gave Haftar the green light to retake Benghazi and Tripoli. There have been several bombings of Tripoli including the one functioning airport.
Cherif said that the roadmap contained three points but did not give details. However he did say that one aspect was "a national unity government which would be composed of representatives from the two camps". A representative in the Tobruk House of Representatives, Tarek al-Garoushi said that Leon wants a coalition government to be formed and a second round of peace talks outside of Libya:"Leon arrived in Tobruk on Monday where he met with parliament speaker Aguilah Saleh and the rest of the assembly's leadership.At the meeting, Leon made several suggestions, including the formation of a coalition government that would include the country's warring factions to guarantee a resolution to the crisis. Leon also proposed holding a second round of negotiations outside Libya." The two sides could not agree on a site to meet inside of Libya.
The UN Support MIssion (UNSMIL) reported that in the recent violence hundreds of people have been killed including 450 in Benghazi alone. There have been 120,000 displaced from the west of the country and 90,00 more from the city of Benghazi. The city had been taken over by Islamist-linked militias but Haftar has recaptured at least part of the city recently. The UN also claims that Libya is facing acute shortages of both food and medicines. A detailed UN report can be found here.Envoy Leon said: “All those suffering in this violence deserve to live in safety with their rights fully protected. I appeal to all Libyan political and military leaders to engage, as a matter of urgency, in a genuine political dialogue to take Libya out of the current crisis." By January 7th we should know whether the UN has had any success this time in promoting dialogue and peace in Libya.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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