GENEVA - The U.N. envoy to Libya said on Tuesday there was a "genuine will to start negotiating" between rival military factions as they began talks in Geneva aimed at securing a lasting ceasefire.
However, Ghassan Salame told reporters that an arms embargo was being violated by both sides and that new mercenaries were still arriving Libya, where forces loyal to eastern based commander Khalifa Haftar have been trying to take control of the capital, Tripoli, for the past 10 months.
The talks in Geneva bring together five military officers from Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) and five from forces aligned with the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.
Fighting has continued on the ground despite a call for a truce by Russia and Turkey on Jan. 12 and an international summit on Libya in Berlin on Jan. 19 aimed at reducing international interference.
Salame said the two sides were aiming "to bridge the gaps in their views on how the lasting, sustainable ceasefire can be organised on the ground".
"We started yesterday to discuss with them a long list of points on our agenda, starting on an attempt to transform the truce into a more solid one, less often violated by either side and also to transform that truce into a real agreement on a lasting ceasefire," he said.
(Reporting by Emma Farge; Additional reporting and writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Alison Williams, William Maclean) ((Aidan.Lewis@tr.com; +20-1001174410;))