Last year, warlord Khalifa Haftar and his militia, launched a campaign to capture Tripoli from the UN-backed government.

People celebrate with Libyan national flags in the capital Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square after the Libyan Army captured the town of Tarhuna, about 65 kilometres southeast of the capital from warlord Khalifa Haftar’s militia. June 5, 2020.
People celebrate with Libyan national flags in the capital Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square after the Libyan Army captured the town of Tarhuna, about 65 kilometres southeast of the capital from warlord Khalifa Haftar’s militia. June 5, 2020. (AFP)

The United Nations on Sunday said it was encouraged by calls to resume talks on ending the conflict in Libya, a day after Egypt announced a unilateral peace initiative supported by warlord Khalifa Haftar.

The UN support mission in Libya said the fighting over the capital, Tripoli, for more than a year “has proven, beyond any doubt, that any war among Libyans is a losing war.”

The statement urged Libyan parties to “engage swiftly and constructively” in the UN-brokered military talks aimed at reaching a lasting ceasefire agreement, “accompanied by a firm implementation of and respect for the recently renewed UN Arms Embargo on Libya.”

Oil-rich Libya has been in turmoil since 2011 when a civil war toppled longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was later killed.

Last year, warlord Khalifa Haftar and his militia, launched a campaign to capture Tripoli from the UN-backed government there. After months of stalemate, the clashes intensified as foreign backers of both sides intervened.

Egypt’s initiative to end the fighting came on the heels of major losses by Haftar's militia in western Libya in recent weeks.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on Saturday announced his initiative to end the civil war, saying the road map includes a cease-fire starting Monday and is meant to pave the way for elections in the North African country.

Haftar is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia. The Tripoli-allied militias are aided by UN, Turkey, Qatar and Italy.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte spoke by phone Sunday with the Egyptian president. 

Conte’s office said the conversation centred on “regional stability, with particular attention to the need for a rapid cease-fire and a return to the negotiating table in Libya.”

There was no comment on the Egyptian initiative from either the UN-backed government in Tripoli or its foreign backers.

Nevertheless, the UN support mission in Libya said it was encouraged by the recent calls to resume talks.

“The Mission, as ever, stands ready to convene a fully inclusive Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process,” it said.

Source: AP