Libya rivals announce will not take part in Geneva talks

In this Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020 file photo, Ghassan Salame, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, speaks at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. (AP)
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Updated 25 February 2020

Libya rivals announce will not take part in Geneva talks

  • Eastern politicians say delegation members rejected
  • The UN had planned to bring together lawmakers from both sides of Libya's conflict to end the fighting over Tripoli

TRIPOLI: Libya's rival camps announced Monday they had suspended their participation in UN-sponsored peace talks this week in Geneva, although a United Nations spokesman said negotiations would still go ahead.
A parliament based in eastern Libya, backed by strongman Khalifa Haftar, said it would not take part because the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) had not approved all its 13 representatives.
A rival authority in Tripoli, the High State Council -- the equivalent of a senate -- said it would also not participate in talks scheduled for Wednesday until progress was made in military negotiations.
"It is in light of conclusions (from military discussions) that the high council would decide to take part or not in political dialogue," the Tripoli body said.
Haftar's forces launched an offensive against Tripoli, seat of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), last April.
Stalemate around the capital's southern suburbs has persisted for months since then.
A joint military commission with five members from each said wound up talks Sunday in Geneva with a "draft ceasefire agreement" to be finalised in March, according to the UN mission.
A spokesman for UNSMIL said Monday that the political dialogue would still take place.
"The Libyan political dialogue will go ahead as previously scheduled, on 26 February," Jean El Alam told AFP.
"Many participants have already arrived in Geneva and we hope all invited participants follow suit," he said.
But Khaled el-Mechri of the GNA-aligned High State Council said it would not be bound by the outcome of political talks if they went ahead "before knowing the military dialogue's conclusions".


Abu Dhabi boosts coronavirus testing capacity

Updated 51 sec ago

Abu Dhabi boosts coronavirus testing capacity

  • Laboratory built and made operational at Masdar City in just 14 days
  • Laboratory to prioritize testing within the UAE but could scale up to receive samples from neighboring regions

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi boosted its large-scale testing capacity for coronavirus after a laboratory was built and made operational at Masdar City in just 14 days.

The laboratory, set up through a partnership technology company Group 42 and the Chinese genomics firm BGI, is capable of conducting by the thousands real time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (real time RT-PCR), one of the most accurate laboratory methods for detecting, tracking and studying the coronavirus.

The laboratory will utilize BGI’s widely-approved diagnostic kits for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease

The new processing capacity will enable a rapid response by accelerating the diagnosis, identification of suspected cases, the release of recovered patients, and the screening of close contacts and high-risk groups, state news agency WAM reported.

The laboratory will prioritize testing within the UAE but could scale up to receive samples from neighboring regions.