Barca's Messi sees red as Bilbao claim Super Cup glory    Egypt detects 890 new coronavirus cases; 56 fatalities on Sunday    Juve's title run at risk following 2-0 loss at Inter Milan    Egypt's general intelligence chief delivers Sisi's message to Palestinian president    Egypt's new Aflemha Online Film Festival will celebrate women filmmakers    State revenues will likely fall by EGP 150 bln in FY 2020/21 on Covid-19    Orascom-Siemens-Arab Contractors consortium signs MoU to build high-speed rail system    Gut bacteria tied to Covid-19 severity    Egypt receives 19 rail carriages from Russia under mega deal    Transmar succeeded in promoting trade, doubling reefer container shipping    World Bank provides $200m loan to Egypt for air quality monitoring projects    Egypt detects 887 new coronavirus cases; 54 fatalities on Saturday    CBE offers EGP 16bn T-bills on Sunday    Tennis: Australian Open arrivals hit by 4 COVID-19 positive tests    Facebook to ban ads promoting weapon accessories, protective gear in US    US state capitals, Washington on alert for possible pro-Trump armed protests    In Photos: Egyptian archaeological mission at Saqqara Necropolis announces new major discoveries    Armin Laschet picked as new leader of Germany's CDU party    Bank ABC acquires Blom Bank Egypt for $480 million: Sources    Egypt's Sisi discusses bilateral ties, regional developments with Sudanese delegation    Egypt's Mostaqbal Watan party dominates the leading posts of parliament's 25 committees    Egypt's budget deficit to GDP ratio receded to 3.6% in first half of FY2020/21, revenues rose by 16%    Mubarak-era politician Safwat El-Sherif dies aged 88    Egypt's president, Siemens CEO discuss final deal on construction of electric train system    Hollywood actor Mena Massoud visits Giza pyramids, says is proud of Egyptian culture    Egypt reopens airspace and resumes flights with Qatar    Egypt, Tunisia to establish maritime trade route    Egypt eyes gradual return for tourism after revenues fall to $4 bln in 2020    Seasoned Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed dies at 76    Coronavirus strikes Egypt's youth team as 17 players, coach test positive    Nassef Sawiris plans to up his stake in owner of New York Knicks, Rangers    Cairo International Book Fair suspended for five months over coronavirus concerns    Egypt unveils largest archaeological discovery in 2020 with over 100 intact sarcophagi    Trump says won't blame Egypt for being ‘upset' over GERD dispute with Ethiopia    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to resume Nile dam talks today    Global Finance: Egypt's Tarek Amer among the world's top 20 central bank governors    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Libya's rival forces have stopped shooting, but they're not pulling back
Published in Ahram Online on 26 - 11 - 2020

In Libya's frontline city of Sirte, parts of which still lie in ruins, the commission set up to oversee warring rivals' recent ceasefire has put its name on a large downtown conference centre - an outward sign of its commitment to peace.
So far the ceasefire is holding, and some elements of the truce have been implemented: flights between rival cities Tripoli and Benghazi have resumed and foreign fighters have left oil facilities - the keys to Libya's economy.
But meetings of the Joint Military Commission in northern Libya, attended by five officers each from the two sides, have yet to make progress on other key demands of a UN-brokered agreement, underlining its fragility.
The rivals in a civil war that has left thousands dead and the country in chaos have yet to withdraw troops from frontline positions, open a major coastal road linking Sirte to Misrata and rid their ranks of foreign mercenaries.
"The danger won't end unless the process of national reconciliation is completed," said Mohammed Mofteh, 33, the head of a charity in Sirte, summing up widespread public scepticism about permanent peace.
Since the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) drove Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) back from the capital Tripoli in June, the shooting has given way to political jostling.
The UN-led diplomatic effort has set a roadmap to elections at the end of next year and implemented an audit of the central bank, which is split between the sides.
The 75 participants in a UN-led political dialogue, which is separate from the military commission's work, have also a Dec. 24, 2021 election date. But they have not agreed on a unified transitional government needed to oversee the vote.
Progress in those political talks slowed when they turned to the question of who would be on the new presidential council and the prime minister, said Hamad al-Bandaq, an eastern-based member of parliament who took part.
"We reached a stumbling block, which is the choice of who will be in the presidential council and government," he said.
Beyond the GNA and LNA's involvement in the peace process, their foreign backers - Turkey in the case of the GNA and Russia, the UAE and Egypt in the case of the LNA - also support it too.
Situated near Libya's main oil terminals, and seen as the gateway to the OPEC producer's "oil crescent", Sirte - now under the control of the LNA - was a major prize in the civil war.
Its domed Ouagadougou Conference Centre, an undamaged part of which is now the Joint Military Commission headquarters, serves as a reminder of what is at stake.
The biggest building Muammar Gaddafi gave to his hometown, the centre hosted the 2009 African Union summit. But it is pitted with bullet and shrapnel marks from a battle in the 2011 uprising that toppled the former leader.
After Islamic State seized Sirte in 2015, its black flag was painted onto the centre. Today a new banner for the commission hangs where GNA and LNA negotiators hash out details of their October ceasefire.
They have pledged to remove foreign mercenaries from Libya by late January, pull forces back from forward positions and open the road across frontlines.
But UN acting Libya envoy Stephanie Williams last week told the Security Council the GNA was still patrolling, the LNA setting up new fortifications and both sides landing cargo planes at bases they have used to resupply.
A Western diplomat focused on Libya said the two sides had asked for only limited outside monitoring of the ceasefire - a sign they may not plan new withdrawals until the political situation is clearer.
In Sirte, queues of up to 50 cars at petrol stations point to the hardships of life near the frontline. Living conditions in Tripoli and the eastern centre of Benghazi this summer led to widespread protests.
Williams has said this public frustration will aid the push for a deal. The UN process helped resolve an eight-month LNA blockade of oil exports which aggravated economic problems in both east and west.
The third strand of talks beyond the military commission and the political process is economic negotiations. There, too, the tussle, particularly over the National Oil Company and Central Bank of Libya, continues.
*This story was edited by Ahram Online.

Clic here to read the story from its source.