Rival sides in Libya agree return to ceasefire talks, says UN mission

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Libya’s warring parties have agreed to restart ceasefire talks, the United Nations mission to the country said late on Monday after weeks of intense fighting near the capital Tripoli.

In a statement posted online, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said it welcomed their plan to resume talks based on earlier so-called 5+5 meetings, involving five senior officers appointed by each side.

The eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) of General Khalifa Haftar has been waging an offensive since April 2019 to seize the capital Tripoli, seat of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

Two ceasefires have already been agreed this year but both shelling and fighting continued. UN envoy Ghassan Salame resigned in March and the Security Council has yet to agree on a successor, further complicating peacemaking efforts.

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A military commission made up of five GNA loyalists and five Haftar delegates held talks in February, but the dialogue was suspended.

A January truce brokered by GNA backer Turkey and key Haftar ally Russia has been repeatedly violated.

Neither side immediately commented on the UN statement.

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The UN mission urged “states backing either of the belligerents to respect what was agreed at the Berlin conference” in late January, where world leaders committed to ending all foreign meddling in Libya and to uphold a much-violated arms embargo.

UNSMIL also voiced hopes that the resumption of talks by the joint military commission would be “the start of a truce on the ground and a humanitarian truce to provide the opportunity to reach a final ceasefire deal.”

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