Libyan rivals agree to hold 2nd round of talks in Egypt after positive 1st round
THE LIBYAN High Council of State and the Tobruk-based putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar House of Representatives delegations have decided to continue to hold U.N.-led constitutional talks in the Egyptian capital Cairo, reports said yesterday.
The first round of the U.N.-led talks, which started on Oct. 11 ended late Tuesday, Anadolu Agency (AA) said, adding that the two sides are currently discussing whether they can hold a referendum on the current draft of the constitution.
They also reached a consensus about the necessity to finalize the transition period.
Top Egyptian spy chief Abbas Kamil had told the two sides to leave disagreements aside.
The two sides had also held meetings in Morrocco in September.
Last week, the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said it appreciated the efforts of both delegations and welcomes the outcomes reached during the discussion.
The talks between representatives of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and Haftar’s forces focused on “pressing security and military issues,” the U.N. said.
They addressed “security arrangements in an area to be defined at a later stage,” while addressing tasks and responsibilities of the Petroleum Facilities Guard, the U.N. mission added.
Representatives from the two sides agreed to put a series of recommendations to the 5+5 Joint Military Committee (JMC), a forum bringing together five representatives from each side.
These recommendations include resuming “face-to-face meetings”, the release of individuals detained in military operations and further discussion of the role of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG).
Pro-Haftar groups supported by the PFG blockaded key oilfields and export terminals from January to demand what they called a fair share of hydrocarbon revenues. Libya has Africa’s largest oil reserves.
The two sides announced separately in August that they would cease all hostilities and hold nationwide elections before delegates met in Morocco in the first week of September for talks.
In the Libyan conflict, the GNA is mainly supported by Turkey and Qatar, while Haftar forces have the backing of Russia, France, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The GNA in June turned back a 14-month assault on the capital Tripoli by the eastern-based Haftar forces, and the two are now dug in along a front line near Sirte.