Libya peace talks resume in Morocco

2015-03-06 06:05
A member of the Libyan army stands on a tank as heavy black smoke rises from a city port. (File, Abdulla, AFP)

A member of the Libyan army stands on a tank as heavy black smoke rises from a city port. (File, Abdulla, AFP)

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Tripoli - UN-brokered peace talks between Libya's rival factions resumed on Thursday in Morocco after a four-week break.

The talks, the second to bring together the country's rival parliaments since a brief initial session in the Libyan desert town of Ghadames, are due to focus on forming a national unity government.

The UN has said the parties will also discuss security arrangements to pave the way for a comprehensive ceasefire between forces loyal to the internationally recognised government and its Islamist-leaning rivals, who control the capital Tripoli.

Delegates were tight-lipped as they arrived at the coastal town of Skhirat, near the Moroccan capital Rabat, where the closed session was to take place.

UN envoy Bernardino Leon's attempts to heal the split, launched in September, have been given a new sense of urgency by a series of atrocities by Islamic State militants.

The group, which controls a swathe of Iraq and Syria, has taken advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold on the southern shore of the Mediterranean.

Leon on Wednesday told the Security Council that he had "no doubt" an Islamic State bomb attack which killed 44 people in the town of al-Qubbah two weeks ago was intended to derail the talks.

"In meetings I have had over the past week, Libya's counterparts have expressed grave concern about the danger that terrorism poses to Libya's security and stability, and of the very limited capacities of the Libyan State to effectively confront this challenge," Leon warned.

Recent months have seen the country descend towards full-fledged civil war as its plethora of militias - a legacy of the 2011 revolution against long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi - lined up behind the rival governments.

Read more on:    isis  |  libya  |  security

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