Libyaâ€™s warring parties have returned to the negotiating table in hopes of brokering a permanent cease-fire, the United Nations mission in the country said today.Â Â
The UN Mission in Libya said â€œproductiveâ€ talks have been held during which the delegations discussed â€œthe latest developments on the ground and to receive their comments on the draft cease-fire agreement.â€ The mission held the first set of talks with the Libyan National Army on June 3 and the second set with the UN-recognized Government of National Accord on Tuesday. Both sets of talks were conducted via remote connections.
TheÂ UN saidÂ in a statement that while the UN mission â€œcommends the seriousness and the commitment” of the parties, “it calls on them to de-escalate to avoid further civilian casualties and new waves of displacement.â€
The talks come afterÂ the Libyan National Army, led by eastern-based commander Khalifa Hifter, suffered a massive setback in Tripoli at the hands of theÂ Government of National Accord, which announced last week it had regained full control of the capital city after more than a year of fighting.Â
For the past six years, the oil-rich country has been embroiled in conflict between the two administrations and their array of foreign backers, which have flooded the country with illegal arms. In a press briefing today, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the agreement byÂ the Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army to reenter talks â€œa good first step.â€
â€œQuick and good-faith negotiations are now required to implement a cease-fire and relaunch the UN-led intra-Libyan political talks,â€ he said.Â
The UN said today it was especially concerned about reported hostilities near the city of Sirte. Between Friday and Monday, the UN documented at 19 civilian deaths, including three women and five children, caused by airstrikes and Grad rockets outside the city.