Libya’s rival governments have agreed to resume talks aimed at securing a lasting cease-fire, the United Nations mission to the country said Monday.
The UN Support Mission in Libya said the internationally recognized Government of National Accord and Khalifa Hifter’s self-styled Libyan National Army would resume negotiations based on earlier UN-led talks that brought together five senior officials from each side in February.
Since 2014, the oil-rich country has been embroiled in conflict between the two administrations and their array of foreign backers, which have flooded the country with illegal arms. During the past nine years, some 400,000 Libyans have been displaced from their homes — about half of them this year amid the fighting in the capital, Tripoli.
A truce brokered in January by Russia and Turkey, which support opposite sides of the war, failed to quell the fighting. As of mid-May, the UN said it had documented more than 850 cease-fire violations.
With the backing of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, Hifter’s army has waged an offensive on Tripoli for more than a year. But in recent weeks, GNA forces have succeeded in pushing back forces loyal to the renegade commander from several key towns along the Tunisian border.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for an immediate cease-fire in Libya to allow for coronavirus aid to reach vulnerable populations. The war-torn country has so far reported just five deaths out of 168 cases of the virus, the majority in the southern city of Sabha.
Many health care facilities, especially those close to the fighting, are damaged or have closed entirely.