UN envoy sets out plan for Libya unity government

2015-03-24 16:57

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Tripoli – The United Nations envoy Bernardino Leon on Tuesday set out proposals to end the conflict between Libya's two rival governments.

Leon proposed the formation of a presidential council made up of independent personalities acceptable to all sides, the UN Support Mission in Libya said.

The House of Representatives, the parliament elected last year which is meeting in Tobruk, would remain in place "under the full application of principles of legitimacy and inclusion".

Deputies from a number of western Libyan cities, including the military powerhouse of Misrata which backs rival, Islamist-leaning authorities in the capital Tripoli, have boycotted the Tobruk parliament since its formation.

The UN said the proposal was "first and foremost Libyan, formulated after wide discussions with the parties."

Leon arrived in the capital late on Monday for talks with the Tripoli authorities.

Talks between delegates

He earlier paid an apparently abortive visit to Tobruk, where he met Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Dairi.

House of Representatives deputy Issa al-Uraibi told dpa that speaker Akila Saleh had been unwilling to meet the envoy.

The road from the airport was blocked by demonstrators opposed to Islamist participation in a future government.

Leon was to return to the Moroccan coastal resort of Skhirat later on Wednesday to continue talks between delegates from the Tobruk parliament and supporters of the Tripoli authorities.

The UN and European Union have been pushing for an urgent solution to Libya's divide, which has enabled the Islamic State extremist group to gain a toehold on the southern shore of the Mediterranean.

Leon has said he is optimistic that moderate forces on both sides can reach an agreement.

But even as talks continued in Morocco, the situation on the ground has worsened inside Libya.

The last week has seen air raids launched by both sides as well as a push by pro-Tobruk forces towards Tripoli.

The Tobruk parliament earlier this month appointed controversial General Khalifa Haftar, who last year launched an unauthorised assault on hardline Islamists in the eastern city of Benghazi, as commander in chief of its armed forces.

Read more on:    un  |  libya  |  north africa

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