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UN-backed government in Libya suspends participation in Geneva talks

Smoke rises after Khalifa Haftar’s forces launched an attack on a port in eastern Tripoli, Libya on 18 February 2020 [Aydoğan Kalabalık/Anadolu Agency]
Smoke rises after Khalifa Haftar’s forces launched an attack on a port in eastern Tripoli, Libya on 18 February 2020 [Aydoğan Kalabalık/Anadolu Agency]

Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) has announced the suspension of its participation in the Geneva talks scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

The UN aims to broker ceasefire talks in Geneva, but the GNA said in a press release that the Libyan National Army, led by the renegade commander Khalifa Haftar, has continued its attacks on Tripoli in an apparent violation of an ongoing truce.

“We are announcing the suspension of our participation in the military talks taking place in Geneva until firm positions are adopted against the aggressor [Haftar] and his violations of the truce,” the GNA explained. “Without a lasting ceasefire… negotiations make no sense. There can be no peace under the bombing.”

The GNA pointed out that it is “clear” that the objective of the systematic bombardment of residential areas, the airport and the port, as well as the total blockade of the oil installations, “is to provoke crises for Libyan citizens in all aspects of their life.”

The UN is brokering ceasefire talks in Geneva with five senior officers from the GNA and five appointed by Haftar. Sources within the GNA said that the conditions put forward by Haftar were “illogical”. They pointed out that one of them is the withdrawal of Turkish forces from the capital, Tripoli. Turkey has a military presence in Libya at the request of the GNA.

READ: Switzerland hosts second round of talks by Libya’s Joint Military Commission

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