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1 December, 2019 11:42:44 AM

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US-Russia tensions ‘complicate’ UN peace efforts for Libya

Independent Online/ AFP
US-Russia tensions ‘complicate’ UN peace efforts for Libya
Ghassan Salame, the Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), speaks during an interview with AFP at his office in the Tunisian capital Tunis on Friday. AFP photo

For the UN’s Libya envoy, US-Russia tensions top a list of “complications” in efforts to heal international divisions on the North African state’s conflict, he told AFP in an interview.

Ghassan Salame said “the road is (still) full of obstacles and complications” towards convening inter-Libyan peace talks that could be held in Geneva “probably in the first half of January”.

“We’ve recently had many complications, primarily of course concerning this Russian-American tension on the possible presence (in Libya) of Russian security firms,” said Salame.

Washington has repeatedly voiced concern over alleged Russian meddling in the conflict that is being exploited by several outside powers for a proxy war.

Russia is suspected of providing military support to eastern Libya’s strongman Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, whose forces on April 4 launched a now stalled assault on the Tripoli base of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

In early November, Russia denied media reports of Russian mercenaries backing up Haftar’s forces, who already have the support of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan and Egypt. The GNA, for its part, is propped up by Turkish military aid.

Under an action plan adopted by the UN Security Council in July, Salame has been working to organise an international conference in Berlin aimed primarily at ending foreign interference in Libya, which is in theory under a UN arms embargo.

“Arms are coming in from everywhere,” the United Nations envoy told AFP at his office in Tunis.

Four preparatory meetings have been held in the German capital and a final session is scheduled to take place on December 10, he said.

Apart from the Security Council’s five permanent member states, Germany, Italy, Egypt, the UAE and Turkey have also taken part.

“If all goes well, we’ll be able to set a date...

for the political meeting that should take place most probably in the first days of 2020,” in which other countries could also join, said the UN envoy, to be followed by the inter-Libyan talks.

HM

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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