Militias affiliated with the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) reportedly attempted to seize control of a military base belonging to the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Ubari during the afternoon hours of Dec. 6. Preliminary information indicates that LNA forces failed in their bid to take the facility. There are conflicting reports concerning the nature of the incident, with some sources asserting that GNA forces succeeded in fending off LNA-aligned militias, and others indicating that prominent local leaders encouraged the LNA forces to leave the area before tensions could devolve into violence. Ubari, the capital of the Wadi al-Hayaa District, is located 697 km (433 miles) southwest of Tripoli.
The incident comes against the background of ongoing peace negotiations between GNA and LNA representatives to find a political solution to the country's conflict. Heightened security and localized transport and business disruptions are possible in the affected area. Security forces will likely remain in the area and could establish security checkpoints until the situation stabilizes.
Seventy-five delegates from Libya's rival political factions are participating in the ongoing peace negotiations, which are officially called the Libya Political Dialogue Forum. The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has been sponsoring the talks and aims to bring about a consensus on a unified governance framework, which can pave the way for national elections in December 2021.
A series of agreements between the UN-recognized GNA and the LNA, including a permanent ceasefire, was reached in Geneva, Switzerland in October. The warring factions have since held talks in Tunis, Tunisia, Tangier, Morocco, and Libya in an effort to reach a permanent political solution to the country's fighting.
However, any peace deal will be tenuous in part because of the number of foreign countries that support competing factions in Libya. Despite the recent agreements, weapons continue to pour into Libya. While Egypt, France, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia back the LNA, Turkey, Italy, and Qatar provide support to the GNA. These countries' pursuit of divergent interests in Libya profoundly complicates efforts to arrive at a meaningful political settlement.
Plan for increased security and ground transport disruptions. Carry proper identification documents to present at security checks. Heed all traffic and security advisories. Maintain contact with your country's diplomatic mission.
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