More Libya talks


Libya’s warring parties will continue talks to reach a lasting ceasefire in a war for control of Tripoli, the United Nations said, after a first round in Geneva failed to yield an agreement.

The UN hosted indirect talks between five officers from the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar, which has been trying to take Tripoli since April and the same number from forces of the internationally recognised government in Tripoli.

Fighting calmed down since last month although skirmishes continue in southern Tripoli, which the LNA has been unable to breach.

Both sides agreed to continue the UN dialogue proposing a follow-up meeting on February 18 in Geneva, the UN mission to Libya (UNSMIL) said in a statement.

It said the sides wanted displaced people to return but could not agree on how to achieve this, without elaborating.

There was no immediate comment from either side in the conflict.

UNSMIL gave no update on efforts to end a blockade of major oil ports and oilfields by forces and tribesmen loyal to the LNA.

UN Libya envoy Ghassan Salame spoke with tribesmen behind the blockade and was awaiting their demands.

He said the blockade will be on top of the agenda at a meeting in Cairo between representatives from eastern, western and southern Libya seeking to overcome economic divisions in a country with two governments.

Diplomats said the Cairo meeting would be attended by technical experts to prepare a wider dialogue to be followed in coming months.

In a sign that reopening of ports might not be imminent, tribes and communities in oil-rich areas in eastern Libya held by the LNA said they opposed resuming oil exports unless Tripoli is freed of militias, a demand of the LNA.

They also demand withdrawal of Syrian fighters sent by Turkey to help defend Tripoli against the LNA, which enjoys the backing of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Russian mercenaries.

They also want what they describe as a fair distribution of oil revenues, another demand of the LNA and people in the east, where many complain of neglect going back to Muammar Gaddafi.

State oil firm NOC in Tripoli and serving the whole country, sends oil revenues to the central bank which works with the Tripoli government, although it pays some civil servants in the east.