round 1 of ceasefire talks do not produce results, round 2 feb 18; talks one of 3 tracks un pursuing vis-a-vis libya
The first round of cease-fire talks, held in Geneva over the weekend, came to an end without reaching a full agreement. The two sides did not negotiate directly, rather through UN mediation. However, although there were some reports of progress, the sides were not able to fully agree on certain demands, such as the GNA’s demand of Haftar to withdraw to his April 2019 positions.
The sides did agree to continue abiding by the truce. Fighting has indeed calmed down, despite occasional reports of skirmishes and artillery fire. However, the two sides agreed to return to a second round of indirect cease-fire talks in Geneva on February 18, according to UNSMIL.
Other issues of disagreement related to returning displaced persons to their homes, something the sides agreed to but could not agree on the best way to achieve this. The sides also expressed their support for ongoing prisoner exchanges, returning dead bodies and welcoming the UN into the process.
UN Libya envoy Salame, said he also spoke with the LNA-linked tribes currently blockading Libya’s eastern oil terminals and is awaiting their demands, which may include a demand the Syrian fighters exit the country, and for a more fair distribution of oil revenues to include LNA-held areas. One statement released by the LNA-tribe called for all GNA militias to withdraw from Tripoli.
The oil blockade will be at the top of the agenda for an upcoming economic meeting set to take place in Cairo, with technocratic and finance representatives from all parts of the country. The Cairo meeting is intended to help prepare for a wider dialogue in coming months.
The UN, in a press release, explained that the commission consists of 3 intra-Libyan tracks organized by the UN, one to discuss a ceasefire, one dealing with economic matters and a political track. The statement noted that “UNSMIL expresses its appreciation to both sides from coming to Geneva, for upholding in earnest the responsibilities they had been entrusted with as well for the professional and positive spirit that characterized their discussions”. It further noted “widespread consensus between both sides with regards to the urgency for Libyans to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their country; protect… from foreign interference…”.