GNA and Haftar delegations agree on criteria for key Libyan government positions

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Delegates from the internationally recognized Libyan government and the side of coup leader Khalifa Haftar agreed on Thursday on criteria for appointment to key institutions in their country, a joint statement made during talks in Morocco said, while hundreds people in the city of Benghazi took to the streets to protest the dire living conditions.

The parties said they had reached a “comprehensive agreement on criteria and mechanisms” for occupying key positions in state institutions, but did not give details.

They added that they would meet again later this month for further discussions on steps to be taken to implement the deal.

They also agreed to suspend talks and resume talks during the last week of September, according to the agreement read by Idris Omran of the pro-Haftar parliament in Tobruk.

The first talks between five members of the Tripoli-based, United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and five members of the Tobruk parliament took place from Sunday to Tuesday, resulting in a joint statement pointing to ” important compromises, ”without disclosing the details.

The negotiations, dubbed the “Libyan Dialogue”, in the coastal town of Bouznika, south of Rabat, the capital of Morocco, resumed Thursday behind closed doors, said a correspondent for Agence France-Presse (AFP).

In the evening, Omran read a joint statement to reporters saying that delegates had agreed on “criteria, transparent mechanisms and targets” for key positions.

The appointment of the leaders of the Libyan central bank, its National Oil Corporation (NOC) and the armed forces has been the main point of contention, according to Libyan media.

Morocco hosted talks in 2015 that led to the creation of the GNA.

Alongside the talks with Morocco, “consultations” took place this week in Montreux, Switzerland, between Libyan stakeholders and members of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), said Stéphanie Williams, envoy. UN Acting in Libya.

The meetings held September 7-9 followed an appeal by rival Libyan administrations on August 22 calling for an end to hostilities and national elections.

Organized under the auspices of the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, the Montreux talks “provide a basis for all responsible Libyan stakeholders to chart the way forward,” the UN envoy said.

Williams also welcomed the meetings in Morocco and said UNSMIL will try to prepare the ground for resuming broader Libyan political talks.

“We call on the international community to assume its responsibilities to support this process and to unequivocally respect the sovereign right of the Libyan people to determine their future,” she said.

The Libyan crisis worsened last year when Haftar, who backs the eastern parliament and is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia, launched an offensive to seize Tripoli of the GNA.

Haftar was pushed back earlier this year by Turkish-backed GNA forces, and fighting is now at a standstill around the Mediterranean city of Sirte, the gateway to eastern Libya’s oil fields and export terminals.

Meanwhile, dozens of people demonstrated in Benghazi on Thursday against power cuts and poor living conditions, witnesses said, burning tires and blocking some roads during an unusually public protest of dissent in the city of eastern Libya.

Benghazi is Haftar’s base in the east of the country.

The electricity supply has deteriorated this year, leading to protests last month in Tripoli and worsening poor living standards amid an increase in coronavirus cases.

The most immediate cause of the deterioration of the power supply is the lack of fuel for power plants. Haftar accused the Tripoli-based NOC of not importing enough fuel to run the factories.

The NOC warned last month of more serious power outages in eastern Libya, saying the shortage was caused by the blockade of Haftar’s oil and gas facilities for months. He said imports of diesel to run factories were causing him “serious financial hardship.”

The NOC called on Haftar’s side to end the blockade, which began in January and drastically reduced production, leading to a near-total eclipse of energy revenues – Libya’s main source of foreign exchange – this year.

Meanwhile, the European Union maritime force enforcing the UN arms embargo on Libya said Thursday it intercepted and redirected an oil tanker bound for Libya after determining it was carrying kerosene in possible violation of the ban.

The MV Royal Diamond 7 was en route Thursday from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, to Benghazi, Libya, when members of Operation Irini from EU forces boarded the ship 150 kilometers (93 , 2 miles) north of the Libyan city of Derna, the EU force said.

Just this week, UN experts blamed warring parties in Libya and their international backers – including the UAE, Russia and Jordan on one side, and Turkey and Qatar on the other – for sending arms and mercenaries to Libya in violation of the “totally ineffective” UN embargo.

The EU mission statement said its inspection aboard the Marshall Islands-flagged MV Royal Diamond 7 determined the cargo to be jet fuel, which it said was “likely” to be used at military purposes.

The mission noted that kerosene is considered military material by the UN, which authorized the EU force to seize weapons and stop arms ships bound for Libya.

The mission said it was redirecting the tanker to a European port for further investigation.


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