U.N. Libya Envoy Stephanie Williams: Libyan political talks have made progress in reaching agreement on elections

NEW YORK — Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs in Libya for the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Stephanie Williams, said that political talks between the warring Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and Benghazi-based Libyan National Army (LNA) taking place in Tunisia have made progress towards the holding of elections.

Williams noted that both parties have agreed to hold elections within 18 months and have agreed on a road map outlining steps to unify Libyan institutions.

Despite the political progress being made at the talks in Tunisia, fears remain about the capacity for external players, such as Turkey and Qatar, to derail the peace process.

According to official media reports, GNA Minister of Defense Salah Eddine Nimroush signed a military agreement with Qatar to establish an air base in Misrata. The air base agreement comes after last month’s agreement to strengthen security cooperation between the GNA and Qatar.

The agreements are likely to complicate any peace settlement between the GNA and LNA.