February 21, 2020 / 9:53 AM / 3 months ago

U.N. says Libya ceasefire talks back on track in Geneva

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations said on Friday ceasefire talks were back on track between the forces fighting over Libya’s capital, days after the internationally recognized government pulled out of the negotiations as its foes shelled Tripoli’s port.

There was no immediate comment from the Government of National Accord (GNA), which withdrew from the talks on Tuesday.

Its rival - Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar - told Russia’s RIA news agency a ceasefire would only be possible if Turkish and Syrian fighters stopped supporting the GNA.

Turkey has backed the Government of National Accord to fend off the Libyan National Army, which is backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

“A ceasefire (would be) the result of a number of conditions being fulfilled ...the withdrawal of Syrian and Turkish mercenaries, an end to Turkish arms supplies to Tripoli, and the liquidation of terrorist groups (in Tripoli),” Haftar told the agency in an interview published on Friday.

Five military officers from both sides have been holding indirect talks meeting in separate rooms with the U.N. envoy Ghassan Salame shuttling between them but with no sign of any progress on the ground.

The United Nations said the talks had resumed on Thursday. “The talks will continue today (Friday) and they will be getting under way shortly. So things are still happening on that front,” U.N. spokesman Rheal LeBlanc told reporters in Geneva.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, Ulf Laessing, Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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