Progress made in talks for Libyan transitional government, UN says

A Libyan political process brokered by the United Nations has made progress towards agreeing on a transition government to oversee the run-up to elections in December, acting U.N. Libya envoy Stephanie Williams said on Saturday.

The Turkey-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli and self-proclaimed Libyan National Army signed a U.N.-brokered ceasefire deal in October, which envisions all foreign fighters and mercenaries to leave Libyan soil within a three-month period and a political roadmap leading to national elections.

The agreement represented the “best possible compromise” on a lasting peace between the main Libyan factions, and a transitional government could be selected “in several weeks”, Williams said, according to Reuters. This government will be tasked with preparing for the elections, combating corruption and restoring public services across Libya, she said.

However, Williams warned there would still be “people seeking to obstruct” peace-making efforts.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan questioned Haftar’s credibility in the truce talks, which he rejected, describing it as a process approved at the “highest echelons” of the Libyan conflict.

Turkey-backed Libyan officials have been accused of trying to buy the backing of participants of the political dialogue. In November, a meeting in Tunis stalled when the delegates began discussing the transitional government’s make-up.

The agreement on Saturday was made by a smaller committee drawn from the participants, Reuters said.

Turkey and Qatar support the GNA in its conflict with the eastern opposition forces led by rebel General Khalifa Haftar, who is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, among other countries. Analysts say that Ankara’s military support – including drones, intelligences and logistics, and supplying of arms and Islamist mercenaries – turned the tide against Haftar’s 14-month Tripoli offensive in the GNA’s favour last summer.

In December, Ankara officials and Haftar exchanged threats of attacking each other’s forces after Turkish parliament approved an 18-month extension of its troops deployed in Libya.