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Tripoli requires halting Haftar’s attack to participate in Geneva talks

Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar [AP]
Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar [AP], 28 January 2020

Chairman of the Libyan High Council of State, Khaled Al-Mishri has expressed his readiness to participate in the Geneva talks scheduled for 26 February, provided that the forces of retired Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar stop their attacks on the capital, Tripoli.

Al-Mishri added in a press conference, held in Tripoli, on Monday, that the Libyan authorities have called for the suspension of political talks, pending the progress of the United Nations in the military talks on Libya.

He pointed to the lack of any progress in the discussions of the 5 + 5 Military Committee in Geneva, noting that “Haftar continued his attacks on Tripoli even after he announced his adherence to a cease-fire in Moscow, and he even escalated the intensity of the offensive afterwards.”

He continued: “We have a positive view towards the calls to participate in the Geneva talks, but before that the aggressors must withdraw their armed forces. We will not start the talks as long as no progress has been made regarding the ceasefire.”

On Saturday, the High Council of State announced in a statement, the suspension of its participation in the Geneva political talks scheduled for 26 February.

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According to the statement, “the Council members voted unanimously not to participate in the Geneva talks until several factors were available.”

The statement indicated that the most important of these factors is “achieving progress on the 5 + 5 military track, and taking into consideration the opinion of the five officers’ delegation, appointed by the Presidential Council to participate in the deliberations of the Military Committee.”

The statement also said that the concerned parties must “commit to the political agreement, as a fundamental and basic reference for any agreement.”

On 3 February, the first round of meetings of the Military Commission in Geneva, which included five members of the government and five others delegated by Haftar forces, started and ended on the eighth of the same month.

The work of this committee is one of the three files that the United Nations is working on, along with the economic and political tracks, to solve the Libyan crisis.

Since 4 April 2019, Haftar forces have launched an offensive to seize Tripoli (West), where the headquarters of the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) is located, amid a dispute between Haftar and Al-Sarraj fights for legitimacy and power.

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