Al Jazeera is reporting that the 5+5 ceasefire talks held in Geneva over the weekend have ended with no long-term agreement between the sides. The UN-sponsored talks, agreed upon during the January Berlin summit, included indirect talks between 5 GNA and 5 LNA military representatives. However, according to the UN, who mediated the talks, a breakthrough wasn’t achieved.
The talks were the first ceasefire talks since fighting renewed in April of 2019, when Haftar launched his push to take Tripoli. UN special envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame thanked the representatives for coming and for their “high professional and positive spirit”. However, if Salame reported progress and showed optimism early on, hoping the sides could find “some sort of agreement or middle ground”, the two ultimately split over the GNA’s main demand that Haftar pull his forces back to their April positions (ie. Benghazi).
Salame noted that despite not achieving a long-term agreement, the sides did agree to continue abiding by the truce and preserve Libya’s sovereignty.
Recall that the major regional powers involved in Libya committed to uphold the embargo and not interfere in the Libyan crisis. Despite these promises, Salame and UN Secretary General Guterres, speaking separately, noted the foreign backers of both sides are continuing to supply arms, ammunition and even fighters that are fuelling the conflict. Guterres described the conflict as “severely aggravated by …forces and equipment from many countries, in clear violation …security council…. We have to re-establish the sovereignty of international law …countries should understand that their engagements to promote certain conflicts only increases the potential of action by terrorist groups.”
Guterres called the situation a “scandal” and was “deeply frustrated” by the unfolding events. However, he cited “genuine will” by both sides to reach a settlement.