UN envoy for Libya Ghassan Salame hails nature of talks in Geneva between UN-backed government and illegal militia warlord Khalifa Haftar, but says violations of arms embargo and truce a concern.

"We are also trying ... to help in an exchange of prisoners between the parties," UN envoy for Libya Ghassan Salame says. (Reuters)

Ceasefire talks between Libya's warring sides are going in the "right direction" while hitting hurdles over violations of an arms embargo and a truce declared last month, the United Nations envoy for Libya Ghassan Salame told Reuters news agency on Friday.

Salame, in an interview during a break in military talks in Geneva, said that he expected political-level talks to convene in the Swiss city on February 26 but was already working on confidence-building measures.

"In parallel, we are trying to make air travel a bit safer in Libya especially from Mitiga as well as Misrata. We are also trying to reopen the port to be a safe harbour," Salame said. 

"And we are also trying ... to help in an exchange of prisoners between the parties."

Outside influence 

The meetings are a part of a broader UN push for peace in Libya, which has been ravaged by years of civil war after its 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was later killed.

Oil-rich Libya is split between the UN-backed Government of National Accord or GNA, and a militia led by warlord Khalifa Haftar. 

The UN-supported government in Tripoli is backed by Turkey and Qatar. On the other side is Haftar, who relies on military hardware from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia.

'More hope'

In the latest outbreak of fighting, Haftar launched his offensive on Tripoli last April but after rapid advances, his forces stalled on the edges of the capital.

The fighting has left more than 1,000 people dead and displaced some 140,000, according to the United Nations.

The first round of military talks ended with no result earlier this month, but Salame, who has been shuttling between the two delegations of high-level military officers, has said there was "more hope" this time.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies