UN announces first Libyan direct talks in Tunisia next month

Libya’s national oil company announced Sunday it is resuming production at the country’s largest oil field.

Sunday 11/10/2020
Members of Petroleum Facilities Guard stand guard outside their headquarters in Tripoli, Libya October 11. (REUTERS)
Members of Petroleum Facilities Guard stand guard outside their headquarters in Tripoli, Libya October 11. (REUTERS)

TUNIS - The first face-to-face meetings of the the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum will take place in Tunisia in November, announced the United Nations.

Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Stephanie Williams said in statement issued Saturday that in-person political talks will resume in early November in Tunisia.

She noted that the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum will be held according to “a hybrid formula,” which include a series of virtual sessions to start on October 26 as well as the direct talks to be held in Tunisia.

The inclusive dialogue will aim “to generate consensus on a unified governance framework and arrangements that will lead to the holding of national elections in the shortest possible time-frame in order to restore Libya’s sovereignty and the democratic legitimacy of Libyan institutions,” said the UNSMIL statement.

It will follow up on the Berlin conference understandings and recent consultations among Libyans, held in Montreux, Switzerland, and in Bouznika, Morocco,  and Cairo, Egypt.

Participants in the dialogue will be drawn from “key Libyan constituencies, based on the principles of inclusivity, fair geographic, ethnic, political, tribal, and social representation”, and “meaningful participation of Libyan women and youth,” it added.

UNSMIL said it will strive to ensure “broad consultations, transparency, and a rights-based approach during this Libyan-led and Libyan-owned process in which multiple voices will be heard.”

The United Nations will also hold direct, face-to-face talks between delegations of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) in Geneva beginning on October 19.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Benghazi-based House of Representatives and Tripoli-based High Council of State started on Sunday three-day-long UN facilitated talks in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, UNSMIL said.

The UN mission said the delegations are expected to discuss “legal and constitutional options which may be put forward to the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum.”

Egypt’s intelligence chief, Abbas Kamel, kicked off Sunday’s talks, saying the time had come for its neighbour Libya to establish peace and agree on “a constitution that defines powers and responsibilities, and leads to presidential and parliamentary elections,” according to Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency.

Libya’s national oil company also announced Sunday it is resuming production at the country’s largest oil field.

The National Oil Corporation said it has lifted the force majeure that was imposed at the southwestern Sharara oil field after it reached “an honour agreement” with forces loyal to Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Hifter to end “all obstructions” at the field.