TRIPOLIS (dpa-AFX) – In the arduous struggle for peace in Libya, the United Nations has announced the resumption of direct talks between the conflicting parties. A series of virtual sessions and face-to-face meetings in Tunisia are planned for early November, as the acting UN special envoy for the North African country, Stephanie Williams, announced on Saturday evening. The aim is “national elections in the shortest possible time frame” in order to restore the democratic legitimacy of state institutions and Libya’s independence.
According to the United Nations, the participants should be selected according to fair geographic, ethnic, political and social criteria as well as according to their tribal affiliation. Women and young people should also be involved in a “meaningful way”. Participants should not be allowed to hold political offices or leadership positions in a future Libyan government.
The road to peace is very difficult because numerous actors in Libya are vying for power and influence. There are also other states – in particular Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey – which pursue their own interests, fuel the conflict and are also militarily involved. All initiatives for a permanent end to the fighting have so far remained unsuccessful.
In preparation, talks between five military representatives from both sides are planned in Geneva over a week. The UN is calling for a complete end to “all military maneuvers”. The aim is to reach an agreement on a long-term ceasefire and a demilitarized zone for the civil war country. In addition, representatives of the parliament in East Libya and the High State Council, which advises the government in Tripoli, are to meet in Cairo for talks lasting several days.
The civil war in Libya has been going on since the overthrow of long-term ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011. The internationally recognized government of Prime Minister Fajis al-Sarradsch, which competes for power with an opposing government in the east of the country, is based in Tripoli. This is allied with General Khalifa Haftar and his self-appointed Libyan National Army. The search for peace is made more difficult by internal conflicts in the two camps and the different interests of foreign actors.
Criminal smugglers also use the conflict and bring refugees and migrants to the Libyan coast, from where they dare to make the life-threatening crossing to Europe. On Sunday night, the Libyan coast guard intercepted more than 220 migrants on three rubber boats on the Mediterranean Sea and brought them back ashore, as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) announced. Countless people continue to be held in camps there under inhumane conditions./jot/DP/he