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The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) called on the eastern-based representatives of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission to keep the doors of dialogue open.
In a statement, the UNSMIL noted that mission coordinator Raisedon Zenenga met with the east-based commission members in Benghazi on Wednesday to hear their reasons behind the measures announced in their April 9 statement.
UNSMIL noted that the five JMC members expressed their concerns over the current situation and brought up “pressing and longstanding issues” that are currently endangering the work of the JMC.
The east-based commission members also touched upon the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity’s (GNU) responsibilities toward the eastern region.
Praising the 5+5 commission for its achievements, Zenenga reaffirmed the U.N.’s commitment to continue to strive to find a lasting solution to unresolved problems. He also highlighted the importance of resolving problems through dialogue and avoiding escalation, as well as safeguarding the work of the commission.
“ASG Zenenga further called for the JMC’s continued cooperation with the U.N., including the provision of essential support to enable the work of the U.N.’s Cease-fire Monitoring Component in Sirte,” the statement said.
On April 9, the east-based commission members had called on putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar to halt oil exports, suspend domestic flights between the country’s east and west and close the roads along the coast.
In January, the commission pledged to support a national conciliation and noted that it is against all regional and inter-tribal conflicts.
The 5+5 Joint Military Commission is made up of five senior military officers from the Libyan government and five chosen by putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar.
There has been little peace or security in Libya since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted Moammar Gadhafi. The country split between the warring eastern and western factions in 2014.
Eastern forces were backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Russia and Egypt. The previous government in Tripoli, in the west, which was recognized by the United Nations, was supported by Turkey.
Foreign mercenaries and arms have poured into the country since Haftar launched his offensive, with Russia and the UAE serving as the putschist general’s top suppliers. According to the U.N., there are currently 20,000 foreign forces and/or mercenaries left in Libya.
The Russian Wagner Group, which is owned by businessperson Yevgeny Prigozhin, a figure close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is known as one of the main groups that sent mercenaries to fight in Libya.
Most of the foreign forces are concentrated around Sirte at Jufra airbase held by Haftar’s forces 500 kilometers (300 miles) south of Tripoli and further west in al-Watiya.
In December, the country was supposed to hold elections but was unable to do so due to legal problems, according to the elections commission.
The country found itself once again with two rival administrations. The country’s east-based House of Representatives named a new prime minister, former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, to lead a new interim government in February. The lawmakers claimed the mandate of interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who is based in the capital, Tripoli, expired when the election failed to take place. However, Dbeibah insists that he will remain prime minister until elections are held and the High Council of State, which advises the interim government, has said it was “incorrect” of parliament to name a new prime minister before holding elections.