Ghassan Salame, UN’s former envoy to Libya, on Saturday said that he has higher hopes than ever of seeing an end to a decade of violence in the North African country.
“I’m very optimistic. What we’ve seen in the past two months is an accumulation of positive factors,” he said while speaking to AFP.
Salame spoke a day after rival military delegations concluded their latest UN-led meetings inside Libya to fill in the details of a landmark October ceasefire deal.
At the same time, political talks, led by the UN, were underway in Tunisia aimed at appointing an interim government to organise elections and govern a country battered by conflict, economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.
On Friday evening the UN announced that delegates in Tunisia had agreed that national polls should be held on December 24 next year.
Libya, which sits atop Africa’s largest proven crude oil reserves, plunged into violence after a 2011 NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Today it is dominated by two competing administrations and an array of militias, including many foreign fighters, as well as being an arena for global rivalries.
Salame resigned in March citing health reasons and stress, but was the architect of the UN’s current Libya peace efforts and has stayed closely involved.
Speaking from his home in Paris, he warned that “a war that has been raging for one decade cannot be solved in a day”.
But after months of relative calm and a string of positive steps, the 69-year-old said Libyans had shown “a truly renewed interest” in dialogue.