UN’s Top Libya Envoy ‘Optimistic’ over Talks
The United Nations’ acting Libya envoy said on Wednesday that she was “quite optimistic” regarding ongoing talks between the country’s warring sides, saying “there is an air of seriousness and commitment.” Speaking at a news conference midway through the week-long talks in Geneva between military leaders, Stephanie Williams, head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), noted that the sides were agreeing to continue what she called “the current state of calm on the front lines and avoid military escalation.” The talks have pushed both the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, and renegade general Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), based in the East, to reopen land and air routes across the front lines, with flights between Benghazi and Tripoli set to resume later this week. In addition, she reported progress in talks for the exchange of prisoners, and both sides have agreed to assist the National Oil Corporation (NOC) better safeguard production. A political dialogue between the two sides is scheduled to begin on November 9 in Tunis. Libya has been split by the warring factions, each backed by different foreign sponsors, since 2014.