The first round of Libyan political talks kicked off in Geneva on Wednesday, under the supervision of Ghassan Salameh, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya.
The number of Libyan representatives and independent personalities who came to the United Nations headquarters to participate in the Libyan political track talks did not exceed twenty people, instead of about fifty personalities.
The head of the Supreme State Council, Khaled al-Mashri, has announced a boycott of the talks until a complete cessation of hostilities by retired Major General Khalifa Haftar's forces is taking place in the capital, Tripoli.
A spokesman for the House of Representatives in Tobruk Abdullah Bleihaq also announced that a number of parliamentarians had returned to Libya from Geneva, after announcing the suspension of Parliament’s participation in the talks until the UN delegation formally responded to ensuring the participation of all members of the Dialogue Committee.
Turkey and Libya
On the other hand, President of the Presidential Council of the Libyan National Accord Government, Fayez al-Sarraj, defended the Turkish presence in his country, stating that Tripoli's cooperation with Ankara is a legitimate right and a sovereign duty to protect its citizens from the aggressors.
This came in statements made by Al-Sarraj on the sidelines of his participation in the work of the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
He pointed out that the relationship between Libya and Turkey dates back to previous eras at various levels: historical, social, economic, political, security and military.
With regard to the Turkish presence in Libya, he made it clear that the reconciliation government - internationally recognized - addressed several countries to help them repel the attack of Haftar's forces, including Turkey, and it has responded.
In a related context, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said that Moscow confirms reports of UN Security Council experts that talked about transporting militants to Libya with the support of the Turkish side.
Bogdanov stated in statements that the UN draft resolution on Libya did not mention international terrorists and militants, although Security Council experts regularly report the transfer of militants to Libya.
In a related context, Abdel-Hadi Al-Huwaij, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Libyan government loyal to Haftar, said that it is not possible to force tribesmen in the east of the country to lift the siege of oil fields, describing it as a popular decision.
Al-Hawij told reporters in Geneva that force could not be used to lift the blockade, and he claimed that "the Tripoli government is using oil revenues to pay the salaries of thousands of mercenaries who he says came from Syria to help Tripoli."
He also stressed that his government will not participate in the political talks that are scheduled to start in Geneva today, and he said that there was no agreement with the United Nations Mission to form the delegation.
Noting the intensity of the discontent between the two parties, Al-Hawaij has repeatedly criticized the internationally recognized Prime Minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, who described Haftar earlier this week as a "war criminal", in a speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.