SHOTLIST OF THE EDITED STORY:
Geneva: Agreement reached by Libyan military delegations
Libyan military delegations from the opposing sides in the conflict have agreed on several measures that will have will have “a direct and material positive impact on the lives of the Libyan people”, according to the top United Nations official in the country, Stephanie Williams.
Speaking at a press conference at the United Nations in Geneva, where the talks are being held this week, Ms. Williams said that “after two days of the first face-to-face direct talks between the two Libyan delegations to the 5+5 Joint Military Commission -- these talks which have been marked by a great degree of patriotism and professionalism and an insistence on maintaining Libya’s unity and sovereignty -- I am pleased to report that the two sides have reached agreement on several important issues which directly impact the lives and welfare of the Libyan people.”
The “5+5 Joint Military Commission” refers to a group consisting of 5 senior military leaders from the Government of National Accord and 5 senior military officers of the opposition Libyan National Army.
“The 5+5 have agreed to the opening of the land routes that connect all the regions and cities of Libya” Ms. Williams announced, highlighting the relief that this could bring to the communities in the South of the country that have been most deprived of basic services.
“The 5+5 have also agreed to the opening of air routes throughout Libya, and especially flights to Sebha, which is the administrative capital of the Southern region.” she added.
In an important development designed to de-escalate tensions, the two sides will also cease fanning the flames of division through hate speech. “The 5+5 agreed upon with the need to end the use of inflammatory and escalatory media rhetoric, to halt the use of hate speech and they urged the judicial authorities to take the necessary deterrent measures to hold accountable the channels and social media platforms that have been promoting hate speech and inciting violence, while ensuring that freedom of expression and speech is protected, “ Ms. Williams said.
These measures are seen as supporting a fourth point of the agreement, namely that “the two sides also agreed to support and continue the current state of calm on the frontlines and to avoid any military escalation.”
Additional points of agreement reached after two days of talks at the United Nations in Geneva – based on the recommendations put forward by the joint military and security committee that met in September in the Egyptian city of Hurghada - include to continue supporting the exchange of detainees, and to work toward full resumption of oil production through a restructuring of the Petroleum Facilities Guards.
This fourth round of talks is occurring against the backdrop of a number of positive developments in Libya, according to Ms. Williams, including the continuation of calm on the frontlines, the resumption of half of the country’s oil production, the holding of municipal elections in some locations, and an on-going political process aimed at including all sectors of Libyan society.
“In light of this emerging hope and these positive developments, I reiterate the call made by the Secretary-General on the 23 March for a global ceasefire,” Ms. Williams said, in reference to the UN’s push to pause armed conflict globally in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, “and I urge the two parties, negotiating here in Geneva, to solve all outstanding issues and forge a lasting ceasefire agreement.”
In response to a question from a journalist on whether there was truly good cause to be optimistic for the future of Libya, the Acting Special Representative said that the reason for her positive outlook was “the real spirit of professionalism, conviviality that I see between the two delegations.”
She added that “they have easily come together and in just two days, have addressed some really important issues.”
Throughout the press conference, Ms. Williams emphasized that an unacceptable degree of foreign intervention has emphasized the need for Libyan-owned and Libyan-led solutions that would fully restore the country’s sovereignty. The ultimate goal, she said, is the holding of national elections.
Going back to the reasons for feeling optimistic, Ms. Williams mentioned that the agreement in Geneva between the military officials today as focused on “issues which directly impact the lives of their compatriots.”
“They feel they have a responsibility to their fellow Libyans to make a difference,” she said.
The two sides will continue talks in Geneva today to focus on arrangements for Libya’s central region, which are to pave the way for a ceasefire agreement.