| 14 April 2024, Sunday |

Libya’s combatants declare key coastroad open

Libya’s warring parties said on Friday that they had restored the main coast route across the frontline, a key component of a ceasefire agreement reached last year after months of talks.

The route was open from 0900 GMT, according to the UN-backed 5+5 committee, which is made up of commander Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) and western-based troops that have backed Tripoli-based governments.

The deal also contained certain preparatory procedures for the removal of foreign combatants, which is another aspect of last year’s truce that has yet to be executed, according to the committee.

The slow progress in opening the road has reflected other stumbles in the U.N.-backed effort to resolve Libya’s long conflict with a ceasefire, a unity government, proposed elections and moves to unify economic institutions.

The Government of National Unity (GNU), picked through a U.N.-aided process early this year and then ratified by the divided, eastern-based parliament, took office in March.

However, since that point there has been little agreement on key steps forwards including on a constitutional basis for the elections scheduled in December and for the GNU’s budget.

Critics of parliament speaker Aguila Saleh, allied with Haftar during his 2019-20 assault on Tripoli, regard the delays as evidence that eastern-based forces are attempting to sabotage the process.

Saleh and his allies in eastern Libya meanwhile accused the GNU of becoming “a Tripoli government” and blamed it for the failure to unify institutions.

Last week Saleh warned that a failure to hold elections meant another rival administration could be set up in the east.

  • Reuters