Libyan rivals meet in Morocco for peace talks

Libyan rivals meet in Morocco for peace talks
The Libyan Dialogue meeting between rival Libyan parties was held in the resort town of Bouznika, south of the capital Rabat, under the auspices of Moroccan foreign minister Nasser Bourita. (Facebook/@MarocDiplomatie)
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Updated 06 September 2020

Libyan rivals meet in Morocco for peace talks

Libyan rivals meet in Morocco for peace talks
  • Libyan Dialogue hopes to lay the groundwork for a further meeting in Geneva
  • The talks are the first meeting between the two sides in months

LONDON: Libya’s warring governments met in Morocco on Sunday for talks aimed at resolving the conflict.
The meeting in the coastal resort of Bouznika, south of Rabat, was attended by five members from the House of Representatives (HOR), based in eastern Libya, and five from the High Council of State located in the capital Tripoli.
The High Council of State is an advisory body to the UN backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
The talks are the first meeting between the two sides in months and come after a cease-fire was declared last month.
Shortly before the talks, Fayez Al-Sarraj, who heads the GNA, met with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul. Turkey is the main financial and military backer of the GNA and is accused of exacerbating the conflict by supplying weapons and Syrian mercenaries to the Libyan battlefields.
The talks in Morocco hope to lay the groundwork for a further meeting in Geneva, Morocco’s foreign ministry said.
The dialogue aims to stabilize the cease-fire and open negotiations to resolve differences between the factions. Thorny issues to be discussed include the Central Bank and the National Oil Corporation.
Khalid Al-Mishri, head of the High Council of State, said Libya is going through “economic, political and security crises” but that they “will endeavor with the House of Representatives to avoid a new war.”
Morocco’s foreign minister called for restoring confidence between the two sides as the talks got underway.
“We opened the way for a Libyan-Libyan dialogue without any interference, and we call for building understandings between the Libyan parties,” Nasser Bourita said.
“Morocco does not have an agenda in Libya and does not have a Moroccan solution to the crisis. Rather, it only has a sincere will to help the Libyan brothers in order to enter into a discussion to find a Libyan solution to their crisis, by keeping pace with the work of the United Nations.”
Morocco has increased mediating efforts in the conflict that was sparked by the downfall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. 
Al-Mishri visited Rabat in July at the same time as the HOR President Aguila Saleh and Acting Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya Stephanie Williams.
The HOR is backed by the Libyan National Army and its commander Khalifa Haftar.

Last month, the two warring sides announced separately that they would cease all hostilities and hold nationwide elections, drawing praise from world powers after a series of fruitless initiatives in recent years to stop the conflict.