Libya, Government, Political Deal, Un

Libya, Government

Libya rivals start UN-led talks in Tunisia on political deal

Libya rivals start UN-led talks in Tunisia on political deal

9/11/2020 6:23:00 PM

Libya rivals start UN-led talks in Tunisia on political deal

Libya rivals start UN-led talks in Tunisia on political deal

WorldUnited Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is seen on screens during the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in Tunis, Tunisia Nov 9, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi)09 Nov 2020 10:51PMShare this contentBookmarkGAMMARTH, Tunisia: Libya’s rival factions gathered on Monday (Nov 9) in Tunisia for the beginning of the much-awaited political peace talks brokered by the United Nations, with a goal of drawing a roadmap to presidential and parliamentary elections.

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The gathering is the latest in efforts to end the political chaos that engulfed the North African nation after the 2011 overthrow and killing of Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi. The UN had selected 75 delegates from Libya to take part in the six-day forum at a luxury hotel in the Mediterranean town of Gammarth, just outside the capital of Tunis.

AdvertisementAdvertisementTunisian President Kais Said attended the talks' opening ceremony, calling the forum “historic by all measures.” Said added the UN efforts aim to set “clear measures and specific dates” to reach “a peaceful solution” to Libya’s conflict.

Said called on those who will lead the transitional period to refrain from running in the next presidential or parliamentary elections.“There is no room for dividing Libya. Some talk about East and West, but the Libyan people are one," he said. “The solution is for the Libyan people to regain their full sovereignty.”

Stephanie Williams, the top UN official in Libya, sought to temper expectations from the Gammarth talks. These negotiations “will not resolve all of Libya’s problems, but if we fail to solve any of them, future resolution becomes impossible,” she said.

AdvertisementAdvertisementA new government, expected to be created by the ongoing UN-brokered talks, would “launch national reconciliation, combat corruption, and restore public services.” Williams added.Just ahead of the talks, she told journalists that “Libya now has an excellent opportunity which will allow it to get out of the conflict tunnel, if all the interlocutors assume their responsibilities and respect their commitments at the end of this dialogue.”

But previous diplomatic initiatives to end the conflict have repeatedly collapsed. These latest talks, however, came amid heavy international pressure. Warring sides agreed to a UN-brokered ceasefire agreement last month in Geneva.Pope Francis on Sunday asked for prayers for the forum’s delegates and for peace and stability in Libya.

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Advertisement“Given the importance of the event, I strongly hope that in this moment so delicate a solution is found for the long suffering of the Libyan people, and that the recent agreement for a permanent ceasefire is respected and is realised,” Francis told the faithful in St Peter’s Square.

Oil-rich Libya is now split between a UN-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities based in the east. Those sides are backed by an array of local militias, as well as regional and foreign powers.Eastern Libya forces, led by commander Khalifa Haftar, launched an offensive in April 2019 to try and capture Tripoli. His campaign collapsed in June, when the Tripoli-allied militias, with heavy Turkish support, gained the upper hand.

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