Libya agreement within reach, UN envoy says

Cairo - A peace agreement between Libya's two rival governments is within reach after talks in the Moroccan resort of Skhirat, the UN envoy Bernardino Leon said on Monday.

"What I would like to [stress] tonight is that there is an agreement on most of the elements of this text," Leon told journalists in an early morning press conference after a lengthy day of negotiations.

The talks are the latest round in a series of the UN-brokered negotiations aimed at ending the country's civil strife, which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and allowed the Islamic State extremist group to gain a foothold on the southern shore of the Mediterranean.

"There are two, three positions that are not agreed by the parties. But let me also insist an agreement is possible on the main text of the political agreement," the envoy said.

Leon said the delegates, representing the internationally recognised parliament based in the far eastern city of Tobruk and a rival Islamist-leaning assembly in the capital Tripoli, now needed to return to Libya and consult with their constituencies.

On Thursday he hoped they would be able to meet again and sign off on the draft agreement, following which they would discuss membership of a proposed national unity government.

Under the proposed deal the Tobruk parliament, elected last summer, would remain in place while a new upper house would be formed mainly from members of the Tripoli assembly.

Libya has suffered from turmoil since a 2011 revolt ended the rule of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, with a succession of governments unable to impose their authority over the numerous militias that arose during the uprising.

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