Since the ousting of Moammar Gadhafi back in 2011, Libya has been torn by civil war. In 2015 however, the country founded a new government under a U.N-led agreement. Under the agreement, the Libyan government would be headed by Fayez Sarraj in Tripoli. Additionally, Mr. Fayez would be Libya’s legitimate authority and lead the State.
Conflict in Libya
Gen. Khalifa Haftar, a military leader in the country’s east, was not pleased with the efforts for a long-term political settlement. Haftar hence decided to oust the U.N recognized government of national accord (GNA), based in Tripoli by force. In his relentless mission, the unpredictable general decided to apply economic pressure on the GNA by illegally shutting down oilfields.
Because of the violence, Libya got split between rival east and west-based administrations. Rival fractions to the west are held by the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). The east is home to warlord Khalifa Haftar and his militia.
Over the years, each group has received support from different foreign powers and armed groups. For instance, Turkey supports the GNC while the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Russia support Haftar. Since the split, the foreign powers have been investing heavily in building up the military strength of the side they support but for a price. Because of this, the violence in Libya seemed to have no end.
U.N-Led talks in Tunisia
But in October, the two rival administrations formed a ceasefire deal in the east and west of the country. The agreement allowed for the economically vital oil production to resume and caused a progression of the efforts to end years of political deadlock. Additionally, the UN-sponsored Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) opened talks in Libya. The LPDF aims to end nearly a decade of chaos and bloodshed by arranging elections.
Seventy-five delegates were selected to represent the existing state bodies and groups from across Libya’s political and social spectrum. The delegates were expected at a luxury hotel in Gammarth near the Tunisian capital Tunis for the talks. The group was tasked with unifying Libya under a single interim executive that could conduct national elections. Their most important task, however, would be to agree on a timeline for elections.
Talks End Without a Decision on an Interim Government
This week Libya’s rival sides wrapped up a week of the U.N-brokered talks in Tunisia. The political forum was supposed to end the North African nation’s chaos and draw a roadmap for presidential and parliamentary elections.
Participants of the talks agreed on holding the polls on Dec 24, 2021, but failed to name a transitional administration to lead Libya to an election. Moreover, the sides made no progress on the question of the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya in the U.N-led talks. Thousands of foreign fighters, including Sudanese, Chadians, Syrians, and Russians, have been brought to Libya by both sides. No side seems to want to consider sending home the fighters as the efforts to find peace continue.
The U.N acting envoy for Libya Stephanie Williams, who led the talks, said that the years of conflict in Libya could not be resolved in a week. She assured that the rivals would meet again to continue with the talks within a week but online. During the next week’s talks, they would maybe agree on a mechanism to name the next government.