Libyan Military Committee 5+5 agrees to form a joint protection force

Libya, agreed today to form a joint force to ensure safety on the roads and in the country's major cities
comisión militar libia

PHOTO/AFP  -   Group photo of the members of the Libyan joint military commission in Ghadames

The 5+5 military committee resumed its meetings at the beginning of October in the Egyptian town of Hurgada and continued its negotiations a week ago in the border town of Ghadames after sealing a principle of agreement in Switzerland for a truce, the first lasting one after 18 months of fighting. 

Under the leadership of Stephanie Williams, head of the United Nations Special Mission to Libya (UNSMIL), the 75 or so representatives of Libya's various governments and regions are now seeking to agree on a name to lead the process, some of the participants told Efe today. 

Since the cessation of hostilities between the two main camps in June, several rounds of inter-Libyan talks have been held at different levels and between different representatives: in the west, the UN-recognised Tripoli-based Government of Unity, and in the east, the power embodied by Marshal Khalifa Haftar, supported by an elected Parliament.

According to them, Thursday's meeting, the third in this fourth negotiating round, also closed a plan for the expulsion of the foreign mercenaries, already agreed upon three weeks ago in Geneva, and the creation of a joint committee to supervise both the departure of the aforementioned soldiers of fortune and the withdrawal of the local militias to their barracks. 

Libya is in chaos following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011, and the initiatives and diplomatic agreements of recent years have failed to resolve the conflict. 

Tunez conversaciones de paz
PHOTO/AFP - Tunisian President Kais Saied, left, and Stephanie Williams, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission, attend the opening ceremony of the Libyan peace talks in Tunis, Tunisia, on Monday, 9 November 2020

However, the Gammarth Forum "is the best opportunity to end the divisions," said the UN's interim envoy to Libya, Stephanie Williams. 

On Wednesday evening, she announced that the 75 Libyan delegates had "reached a preliminary roadmap for ending the transition period and holding free, fair, inclusive and credible presidential and parliamentary elections" within 18 months. 

The talks also aim to establish a unified executive, consisting of a three-member presidential council and a government.

However, the legitimacy of these delegates has already been questioned by groups claiming to be under-represented. 

The new effort spurred by the UN has been coldly welcomed by Libyan experts and officials due to the reluctance of both Turkey and Russia, the main supporters of the GNA and Haftar.  

There is also a risk that the current leaders, absent from the talks, armed groups or their international sponsors will try to play the role of saboteurs in a country that has seen an increase in the participation of foreign powers and where the truce remains fragile.

Qatar y Libia
PHOTO/Ministry of Defence of Turkey via REUTERS - The Minister of Defence of Turkey, Hulusi Akar, meets the Deputy Minister of Defence of the internationally recognised Libyan National Accord Government, Salahedin al-Namroush, and the Minister of Defence of Qatar, Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, in Tripoli, Libya, on 17 August 2020
Libya and Qatar's Defense Ministries sign a cooperation protocol 

Libya and Qatar, whose ties have recently been strengthened, signed a security cooperation agreement on Monday 26 October in Doha, the content of which was not disclosed, according to Qatar's official news agency QNA. This signing comes three days after the UN in Geneva announced a "permanent" ceasefire between Libya's two rival camps. 

On 12 November these agreements followed a visit by the Qatari and Libyan defense ministries, which resulted in the signing of a cooperation agreement on military training and capacity building.

This was the result of a meeting between the Qatari defense minister, Khaled bin Mohamad Al-Attiyah, and his Libyan counterpart, Salah Eddine Al-Namroush, according to a statement by the Qatari defense ministry. During this meeting the two countries reviewed bilateral military relations and ways of strengthening them, according to ministerial sources.