UN envoy meets east-based Libyan commander to push for unity

CAIRO (AP) – The UN particular envoy to Libya met with the eastern-based army commander on Friday as a part of efforts to unite rival factions within the war-torn North African nation earlier than the December elections.

Throughout their assembly within the japanese metropolis of Benghazi, UN Envoy Jan Kubis and Libyan Commander Khalifa Hifter agreed on the significance for all Libyan events to interact and facilitate the poll of the December 24, in keeping with a press release from the UN mission in Libya.

The elections had been held as a part of a UN-backed political roadmap for the fractured nation.

Kubis’ go to follows a key improvement earlier this month throughout UN-backed talks in Switzerland, when Libyan delegates selected a transitional authorities, with a chief minister and a three-member presidential council, supposed to steer Libya through the elections. The election was a serious step in direction of the unification of Libya and the tip of some of the intractable conflicts left by the Arab Spring.

For years, the influential Libyan army commander primarily based within the east, Khalifa Hifter, has been a controversial determine. In 2019, he launched an offensive to seize the capital, Tripoli, a marketing campaign that finally failed the next yr.

Kubis and Hifter additionally mentioned methods to hurry up the implementation of a ceasefire settlement signed final yr and the withdrawal of all overseas and mercenary forces. Based on the UN mission assertion, additionally they mentioned opening a key Libyan artery – the coastal street alongside the Mediterranean Sea that connects Tripoli, within the west, to Benghazi.

Since 2015, Libya has been divided between two rival administrations: a weak however UN-backed authorities in Tripoli – a metropolis largely managed by an array of armed factions – and an east-based authorities backed by Hifter. Every is supported by totally different overseas governments.

That is Kubis’ first go to to Libya since his appointment to the submit in January. Beforehand, the previous Slovak International Minister had been despatched from the United Nations to Lebanon. A day earlier than assembly Hifter, Kubis spoke in Tripoli with the chairman of the newly elected three-member presidential council, Mohamed Menefi, and different Libyan politicians.

Libya fell into chaos after the ouster of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Since then, it has additionally turn into a haven for Islamic militants and armed teams who survive from looting and human trafficking.

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