Libya’s internationally recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has ruled out the resumption of peace talks aimed at finding a solution to the crisis in the country unless there is a “strong signal” from all international players.
“There must be first a strong signal from all international players who are trying to talk to us,” Sarraj told reporters on Wednesday as he visited Tripoli’s seaport which was attacked by eastern forces on Tuesday.
The internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) announced late Tuesday it would suspend its participation in talks brokered by the United Nations, which began on the same day in Geneva between representatives of the GNA and its main rival, the eastern-based Libya National Army (LNA).
The reason was a barrage of rockets that hit a port in the capital Tripoli, which has been the target of a months-long offensive by the LNA.
In an attempt to salvage the talks, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday that the UN Libya envoy Ghassan Salame was trying to convince the Tripoli delegation to remain in Geneva and resume indirect talks. The UN also confirmed it.
“Delegations are still here (in Geneva) and Dr Salame has a meeting today with the head of the GNA delegation,” said Jean El Alam, spokesman for the United Nations Libya mission.
“The mission leadership is in contact with the GNA in Tripoli and member states to keep the momentum going,” he added.
In a separate statement, the UN mission said it was “expressing its strong and renewed condemnation of the bombing of Tripoli’s seaport yesterday by the Libyan National Army.”
Libya has since 2014 been divided between two rival camps, the Tripoli-based government of Sarraj, and a camp in the eastern city of Tobruk, supported militarily by rebel forces under the command of Khalifa Haftar.
Numerous attempts to broker peace between the two sides of the conflict have failed.
RIA news agency reported on Wednesday that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had met with Haftar and that they had agreed a political settlement is the only option for Libya.