Libya’s warring factions have signed off on a plan to open the country’s land and sea routes, amid ongoing negotiations backed by the United Nations. The breakthrough could be the first step towards securing a ceasefire.
The UN’s acting Libya envoy, Stephanie Williams, announced on Wednesday that both parties had agreed to open land and sea routes. The two sides of the civil war began talks in Geneva on Monday.
The North African nation has seen more than five years of conflict between the UN-recognized Government of National Accord, based in Tripoli, and military commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army, which controls the country’s east.
During a press conference, Williams said she was “optimistic” that the peace summit, which is expected to last through Saturday, would lead to a ceasefire in the war-torn nation. She added that the rivals had also agreed to maintain “the current state of calm on the front lines and to avoid any military escalation.”
The UN envoy also called for a halt to foreign intervention in Libya, urging foreign parties to “take their hands” off the oil-rich North African nation.
The warring sides have signaled that they are interested in a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Last month, Haftar and the GNA agreed to a preliminary plan to conduct a prisoner exchange and allow air and land transit through the country. Oil production has also resumed in Libya, following a months-long blockade by tribes allied with Haftar.