By Sami Zaptia.
London, 21 October 2020:
Acting UNSMIL head, Stephanie Williams today reported early agreement on important issues by the two sides at the ongoing Libyan Geneva 5+5 Joint Military Commission talks.
She reported that ‘‘After two days of the first face-to-face direct talks between the two Libyan delegations to the 5+5 Joint Military Commission, which have been marked by a great degree of patriotism and professionalism and insistence on maintaining Libya’s unity and defending the country’s sovereignty, I am pleased to report that the two sides have reached agreement on several important issues which directly impact the lives and welfare of the Libyan people, namely:
1-The 5+5 have agreed to the opening of the land routes that connect all the regions and cities of Libya. The parties agreed to initiate joint security arrangements with a special focus on the road for the land routes from Shuwerif to Sebha to Murzuq, from Abu Grein to Jufra and the coastal road from Misrata to Sirte and onwards to Ajdabiya. As you may be aware, while socio-economic conditions have deteriorated all over Libya, they are especially dire in the south of the country which has traditionally been marginalized and deprived of basic services such as the delivery of fuel and the absence of cash. The decisions taken by the 5+5 will therefore have a direct and material positive impact on the lives of the Libyan people.
2-The 5+5 agreed to the opening of air routes throughout Libya, especially flights to Sebha, which is the administrative capital of the region. The delegations directed that the civilian aviation authorities take all the necessary steps to open the air routes as quickly as possible.
3-The 5+5 agreed on the need to end the use of inflammatory and escalatory media rhetoric, to halt the use of hate speech and they urged the judicial authorities to take the necessary deterrence measures to hold accountable the channels and social media platforms promoting hate speech and incite for violence, while ensuring that freedom of expression and speech is protected. They also agreed to send a direct message to these channels and platforms, including those attached to both sides to refrain from airing content that constitutes hate speech.
4-The two sides agreed to support and continue the current calm on the frontlines and to avoid any military escalation.
5-They also agreed to support efforts underway, especially those undertaken by the elders’ councils towards the exchange of detainees. The 5+5 identified points of contact for the eastern and western regions in order to facilitate and coordinate these efforts. I thank Libyan leaders that have been encouraging this outreach.
6-With regard to the issue of the full resumption of oil production, the two sides agreed to delegate the commanders of the petroleum facilities guards from the east and west to work directly with a representative appointed by the National Oil Corporation to present a recommendation for the restructuring of the Petroleum Facilities Guards which will ensure the increase and continuation of the flow of oil.
The agreements reached by the two sides in the last two days are based on the recommendations put forward by the joint military and security committee that met last month in the Egyptian city of Hurghada.
The two sides will today take up the issue of arrangements for Libya’s central region, paving the way for a ceasefire agreement.
In light of this emerging hope, I reiterate the call made by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on 23 March for a global ceasefire and urge the two parties negotiating here today to solve all outstanding issues and forge a lasting ceasefire agreement’’.