Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) has said it will boycott talks on the conflict in the North African country to be held by Arab League foreign ministers next week.
Foreign minister Mohamad Taher Siala told the bloc’s executive council on Friday that the planned meeting would “merely deepen the rift” between Arab governments on the conflict, his ministry said.
The talks, to be held by videoconference because of concerns about coronavirus, were called for by Egypt, a key supporter of the GNA’s eastern-based rival, the Libyan National Army (LNA).
#Turkey criticizes the EU’s #OperationIrini aimed at halting arms shipments to Libya as “not objective,” a day after NATO said it would probe a naval incident with a French ship.https://t.co/VigvKrCpac— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) June 19, 2020
Egyptian Cairo Initiative ceasefire
Siala complained there had been no prior consultation with his government, even though the meeting concerned Libya, and said the virtual format of the meeting was not appropriate for addressing the thorny issues involved.
The GNA has been in the ascendancy since its Turkish-backed forces defeated a year-long offensive by the LNA, led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar, against the capital earlier this month and drove them out of western Libya.
Egypt responded with a peace initiative that was welcomed by fellow LNA supporters the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Saudi Arabia but rejected by the GNA and Turkey.
Washington has called for UN-led ceasefire talks.
Conflict in Libya ongoing
Oil-rich Libya has been torn by violence, drawing in tribal militias, extremists and mercenaries since the 2011 toppling and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a Western-backed uprising.
The latest escalation has been marked by an uptick in foreign involvement.
Recent weeks have seen tensions rise between Turkey and France, which despite public denials has long been suspected of supporting the GNA.
The United Nations has urged outside powers to respect a deal reached at a January conference in Berlin, calling for an end to foreign meddling and upholding a much-violated arms embargo.