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Libya rivals meet in joint military commission in Geneva: UN

American military delegation visit to Tripoli

For the first time since that battle erupted in Tripoli, representatives of the warring parties in Libya were meeting in Geneva on Monday in a UN-sponsored joint military commission, the United Nations said.

They rivals refused to meet face-a-face both in Russian and in Germany.

According to an AFP reports, five senior officers appointed by the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and five appointed by the Libyan National Army (LNA) of strongman Khalifa Haftar are taking part in the talks, it said in a statement.

The talks are being moderated by the UN’s Libya envoy Ghassan Salame, who last week lashed out at what he branded “unscrupulous” foreign players for meddling in the conflict in the North African country.

At a summit in the German capital last month, world leaders committed to ending all foreign interference and to upholding a weapons embargo to help end the long-running civil war.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with two rival administrations vying for power.

The conflict deepened last year when Haftar, who controls much of the south and east of Libya, launched an assault in April to seize Tripoli, the base of the GNA led by Fayez al-Sarraj.

Libyan military Gen. Khalifa Haftar announced Saturday that he will attend the commission talks in Geneva, despite refusing earlier calls by Russia and Turkey to reconcile, just as American military delegation made an unannounced visit to Tripoli, the Libyan capital.

The US military visit was for a talk with the military officers in the Government of National Accord (GNA) recognised by the UN.

Libyan media reported that the US defense department officials will later meet the GNA boss Fayez al-Sarraj in the capital.

According to U.N. Support Mission in Libya's official Twitter account, Haftar "confirmed LNA's (Libyan National Army) participation in the Joint Military Commission (5+5) talks," during a meeting with the U.N. officials.

Hafter agreed to attend the Geneva meeting after Saturday meeting in Rajma with the UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame. The talks addressed the political and economic affairs, UN mission in Libya said in a tweet.

A military commission that will discuss the cease-fire between Libya's warring parties, as laid out during the Berlin conference, is expected to convene this week in Geneva.

Meanwhile, Haftar's forces have intensified their attacks on Tripoli and U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA)-controlled areas ahead of this meeting, violating the non effective cease-fire.

On Jan. 12, the conflict parties announced a cease-fire in response to a joint call by the Turkish and Russian leaders. However, the talks for a permanent cease-fire deal ended without an agreement after Haftar left Moscow without signing the deal.

Similarly, an attempt of the international community to find a solution to the Libyan crisis in the German capital Berlin on Jan.19 remained inconclusive. Since then, attacks by Haftar's forces have continued with no regard for civilian lives.

The conflict deepened in April last year when Haftar, who controls much of the south and east of Libya, launched an assault to seize Tripoli. Since the ousting of late ruler Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys U.N. and international recognition.

The GNA led by Fayez al-Sarraj has been under attack since April by Haftar's forces, with fighting killing over 280 civilians and 2,000 fighters.

Meanwhile, Morocco declared Sunday that it recognizes the GNA as the only legitimate power in Libya, following a phone call between the two countries' foreign ministers.

Releasing a statement following the talk, Libya's foreign ministry said Morocco has shown full support for the GNA as the only legitimate power in the country.

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