Military officers from UN-backed government and illegal militia of warlord Khalifa Haftar begin talks aimed at securing a ceasefire after 10 months of fighting on outskirts of capital, Tripoli.

Libyan protesters shout slogans during a demonstration to demand an end to Khalifa Haftar's offensive against Tripoli, in Martyrs' Square in central Tripoli, Libya, December 27, 2019.
Libyan protesters shout slogans during a demonstration to demand an end to Khalifa Haftar's offensive against Tripoli, in Martyrs' Square in central Tripoli, Libya, December 27, 2019. (Reuters)

Representatives of the warring parties in Libya began meeting in Geneva on Monday in a UN-sponsored joint military commission, the United Nations said.

Five senior officers appointed by the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and five appointed by the illegal militia of warlord Khalifa Haftar are taking part in the talks, it said in a statement.

The talks are being moderated by the UN's Libya envoy Ghassan Salame, who last week lashed out at what he branded "unscrupulous" foreign players for meddling in the conflict in the North African country.

General view of the Libya summit in Berlin, Germany, January 19, 2020.
General view of the Libya summit in Berlin, Germany, January 19, 2020. (Bundesregierung/Guido Bergmann/Handout via Reuters / Bundesregierung/Guido Bergmann/Handout via Reuters)

Berlin summit 

At a summit in the German capital last month, world leaders committed to ending all foreign interference and to upholding a weapons embargo to help end the long-running civil war. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel had invited leaders from Turkey, Russia, the US, China, France, the UK and other regional actors to a single-day conference in Berlin. 

Libya has been mired in chaos since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, with two rival administrations vying for power: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the UAE, and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.

The conflict deepened last year when Haftar, who controls much of the south and east of Libya, launched an assault in April to seize Tripoli, the base of the GNA led by Fayez al Sarraj.

The fighting has displaced more than 150,000 people and drawn increasing involvement by foreign powers.

A fighter loyal to Libya's UN-backed government (GNA) gestures during a clash with forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar at the outskirts of Tripoli, Libya, May 21, 2019.
A fighter loyal to Libya's UN-backed government (GNA) gestures during a clash with forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar at the outskirts of Tripoli, Libya, May 21, 2019. (Goran Tomasevic / Reuters)

Ceasefire 

Haftar's militia had delayed appointing representatives for the military talks, but appear to have come round to participating after Turkey supplied air defence systems requested by GNA that blunted the air advantage enjoyed by Haftar and his militia, diplomats said.

The Geneva talks are aimed at trust-building and working out a monitoring mechanism for a ceasefire, diplomats said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies