Libya's Tripoli authorities to join Geneva peace talks

2015-09-03 05:22
Smoke rises during clashes between the Libyan military and Islamic militias in Benghazi, Libya. (Mohammed El-Sheikhy, AP)

Smoke rises during clashes between the Libyan military and Islamic militias in Benghazi, Libya. (Mohammed El-Sheikhy, AP)

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Tripoli - Libya's Tripoli-based authorities said on Wednesday they will take part in crucial peace talks, a day before their expected start in Geneva.

The talks, aimed at ending more than a year of violence and political chaos in the North African country, are due to take place in the Swiss city on Thursday and Friday.

The General National Congress, which is not recognised by the international community, decided to participate at a meeting on Wednesday, said GNC member Mahmoud Abdelaziz.

"The GNC decided to participate in the dialogue sessions in Geneva. We are going to participate in a serious way," Abdelaziz told AFP.

The dialogue team "is going in order to include the changes we are asking for in the draft deal," he said.

Abdelaziz described as "positive" talks held on Tuesday in Istanbul with the UN's Libya envoy Bernardino Leon, who "promised to discuss, in a serious way, including the changes in the draft deal".

The Geneva talks are the latest round in long-running UN-brokered peace negotiations between Libya's rival factions.

Tripoli's involvement raises hopes for an agreement that could end violence, unite Libya against extremists like the Islamic State group and tighten border controls to help ease Europe's migrant crisis.

The internationally recognised parliament and government, based in Libya's east, have already been participating in the talks.

The factions agreed in January to set up a national unity government to restore stability shattered since the 2011 revolution that overthrew longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

But negotiations on details and over posts have run into hurdles.

Find solution

The UN had hoped that the talks would lead to an agreement being signed by September 20, with its implementation to start around October 20.

The agreement, so far rejected by the GNC, aims to form a national unity government for a two-year transition period to end with parliamentary elections.

The internationally recognised parliament on Tuesday adopted a list of candidates for the new administration, the press agency loyal to it reported on Wednesday.

The 12 candidates include one woman and former foreign minister Abdulrahman Shalgham, it said.

At a news conference after the Istanbul meeting on Tuesday evening, UN envoy Leon said he had urged GNC representatives to move forward.

"I encouraged the GNC members... to continue to try to find a solution as soon as possible," he said. "We have little time and we have to expedite the final solution."

Any agreement will need to be approved by the parliament and the GNC.

Read more on:    un  |  gnc  |  libya  |  north africa

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