Libya: Warring Sides Begin UN-led Direct Political Talks In Tunisia Amid Cautious Optimism

The rival parties to Libya’s ongoing political crisis started peace talks in Tunisia’s capital on Monday brokered by the United Nations (UN), with a goal of paving a way to presidential and parliamentary elections in the country, reported Reuters.

The UN selected 75 delegates from Libya to participate in the six-day forum in a Tunis hotel. Tunisian President Kais Saied and acting U.N. Libya envoy Stephanie Williams also attended the meeting.

At the opening ceremony, Tunisian President Saied said participants had “an appointment with history” that they should not let pass them by. He called on those who will lead the transitional period to refrain from running in the next presidential or parliamentary elections.

Saied reiterated that the solution in Libya can only be purely Libyan and based on the agreement of all the Libyan factions. He stressed that the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) aims to achieve peace in Libya.

“We are moving forward with confidence in various possible paths, relying on the determination of the Libyans,” Williams said in her inaugural speech.

She described it as the best opportunity to end the turmoil and warfare that have plagued the North African oil-exporting country since 2011. Libya has been split between rival factions in the west, held by the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), and the east, controlled by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) since 2014. Both sides are backed by an array of local militias, as well as regional and foreign powers.

 However, Williams warned that the road will not be paved with roses and it will not be easy.

Previous diplomatic initiatives to end Libya’s conflict have repeatedly been unsuccessful. The latest round of peace talks has been called amid heavy international pressure. The warring sides agreed to a U.N.-brokered cease-fire agreement last month in Geneva.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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