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Libya: first direct talks to be held next month

October 13, 2020 at 2:16 pm

Tunisian President Kais Saied (R) shakes hands with Libya’s UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj during their meeting in Tunis, Tunisia, on 10 December, 2019 [Tunisian presidency handout]

The UN Mission in Libya has announced that the country’s political and military rivals will hold direct talks early next month.

Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Stephanie Williams said on Saturday that the talks will be held in Tunisia.

Williams noted that the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum will be held according to a hybrid formula, which include a series of virtual sessions to start on 26 October as well as the direct talks to be held in Libya’s North African neighbour.

Meanwhile, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) announced the lifting of force majeure status from Sunday, 11 October. The NOC said that instructions have been given to Akakus Oil Operations (AOO), to restart production subject to general security standards and safety precautions.

In Libya, oil production levels have plunged by around 75 per cent since renegade Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar imposed a blockade and cut the revenue stream for state institutions operating across the country. On 12 August, the NOC revealed that the total losses incurred due to the shutdown of oil production and Libya’s ports totalled $8.22 billion, after 208 days of the forced shutdown by Haftar’s militia.

Libya has been witnessing an armed conflict since 2011. Haftar is supported by Arab and Western countries against the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in the oil-rich country.

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