New round of Libyan peace negotiations to start in Geneva

Libya’s UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and the self-declared Libyan National Army (LNA) will today begin a new round

Libya protests

Photo: Reuters

Libya’s UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and the self-declared Libyan National Army (LNA) will today begin a new round of UN and EU-brokered peace talks.

In a surprise turn of events, Libya’s Benghazi-based government, which backs rebel leader Khalifa Haftar’s LNA, resigned on Sunday in response to the violent protests that erupted in the city over a lack of water, electricity and other basic services. Similar protests also erupted in Tripoli, forcing Prime Minister Fayaz al-Sarraj—who had already been facing internal challenges from his own Tripoli-based government—to resign.

These changes are a sudden departure from the political trajectory of the past few months. The two factions, which have been waging a war against each other since they were established in 2015 (four years after the overthrow of former dictator Muammar Qaddafi), had most recently been stuck in a stalemate fighting for control over Sirte, which connects various gas conduits and oil pipelines to the Mediterranean.

With both the GNA and LNA in weakened positions, the new round of Geneva talks are seemingly more promising than previous attempts. In the peace talks that kick off today, the two rival factions will be asked to reach an agreement on a new, unified structure for the presidential council, along with the dates for the next round of elections. Though the talks will not be easy, a political resolution might be underway, especially if the two sides’ foreign backers, namely Russia and Turkey, put pressure on their allies.

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