Libya's warring sides discuss implementing cease-fire
Military leaders from Libya's warring sides met Monday in the oasis town of Ghadames, the United Nations said, the first face-to-face military talks inside Libya since last year's attack on the capital by the forces of military commander Khalifa Hafter.
The fifth round of talks, brokered by the UN, came less than two weeks after the two sides inked a permanent cease-fire in Geneva on October 23, a move the UN billed as historic after years of fighting that has split the North African country in two.
The UN mission in Libya said the meetings through Wednesday would discuss implementing and monitoring the cease-fire, along with how to verify possible violations.
The October cease-fire deal included the return of armed groups and military units "to their camps" and that all foreign mercenaries be out of the oil-rich country within three months.
The two sides also agreed on exchanging prisoners and opening up air and land transit across the country's divided territory.
The head of the UN support mission for Libya, Stephanie Williams, is attending the talks in Ghadames, a UNESCO World Heritage site known as "the Pearl of the Desert".
The talks have come ahead of Libyan political talks scheduled November 9 aimed at discussing possible elections.
Libya is split between a UN-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities based in the country's east.
The two sides are backed by an array of local militias as well as regional and foreign powers. The country was plunged into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Hafter's forces launched an offensive in April 2019 to try and capture Tripoli, the seat of the UN-supported government. But his campaign collapsed in June.
Fighting has since died down amid international pressure on both sides to avert an attack on the strategic city of Sirte, the gateway to Libya's major oil export terminals.