Pompeo welcomes agreement for U.N. Libya talks, urges speedy ceasefire process

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday welcomed the resumption of talks led by the United Nations between Libya’s warring sides and urged speedy negotiations to achieve a ceasefire.

“The agreement between the GNA and LNA to re-enter U.N. security talks was a good first step, very positive,” Pompeo said in a news conference, referring to the internationally recognized Government of National Accord and Libyan National Army, led by eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar.

“Quick and good-faith negotiations are now required to implement a ceasefire and relaunch the U.N.-led intra-Libyan political talks,” Pompeo said.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on June 2 said Libya’s warring parties had agreed to restart ceasefire talks.

Over the past couple of weeks, Libya’s conflict has taken a new turn. In a series of rapid victories, the GNA has, with Turkish support, suddenly brought most of northwest Libya back under its control, dashing Haftar’s bid to unite the country by force with help from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.

While the United States has said it opposes Haftar’s offensive, it has not thrown its support behind the GNA. It has also lambasted Russian involvement, a stance reiterated on Wednesday by Pompeo.

“It’s time … for all Libyans and all sides to act so that neither Russia or any other country can interfere in Libya’s sovereignty for its own game,” Pompeo said.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump discussed Libya in a call on Monday. Erdogan said the two agreed on “some issues” on Libya.

Egypt has also called for a ceasefire starting on Monday, as part of a wider political initiative which was welcomed by Russia and the UAE. Turkey dismissed it as an attempt to save Haftar following the losses he suffered on the battlefield.

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