Reuters: UN envoy to Libya says ceasefire talks going in the right direction

UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame. [UNSMIL]
The UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame told Reuters Friday that ceasefire talks between Libya’s warring sides are going in the “right direction” while hitting hurdles over violations of an arms embargo and a truce declared last month.

Salame spoke to Reuters during a break in military talks in Geneva, which resumed on Thursday after the internationally-recognized government in Tripoli pulled out of negotiations as Khalifa Haftar’s forces shelled the capital’s port, saying it is not that one side is back, it is one side came back with the intention to move forward, which is different.

“I think that these demands are reasonable and I think they are viewed as reasonable by the other party as well. The whole question is when, where, and what is the quid pro quo? That’s what the negotiation is about.” Salame said, regarding the question of pulling out to pre-April positions by Haftar’s forces.

Salame said he expected political-level talks to convene in Geneva next Wednesday but he was already working on confidence-building measures.

“In parallel we are trying to make air travel a bit safer in Libya especially from Mitiga as well as Misrata. We are also trying to reopen the port to be a safe harbor. And we are also trying to help in an exchange of prisoners between the parties.” He added.

Salame said he was still conducting shuttle talks with separate sessions with the GNA and LNA military officials, rather than trying to bring them together.

“We are certainly firm in our determination to launch the political process the way we did with the economic and the military (talks),” Salame said.

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