Libyan factions have agreed to continue United Nations-backed negotiations in Geneva next week in a bid to end the country’s political crisis, though key representatives from Tripoli’s self-declared government have so far stayed away.
UN special envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, had warned at the start of the talks that they were a last-ditch effort to prevent all-out chaos.
“The participants agreed after extensive deliberation on an agenda that includes reaching a political agreement to form a consensual national unity government and the necessary security arrangements to end the fighting,” a UN statement said on Friday.
Nearly four years after a NATO-backed revolt ousted Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is in turmoil with two rival governments and two parliaments backed by allied armed factions.
The internationally recognised government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni and the elected House of Representatives have operated out of the east of the country after a faction called Libya Dawn took over Tripoli last year, set up its own government and reinstated the old parliament known as the GNC.
Tripoli faction missing
A delegation from the House of Representatives and parties allied to Tripoli attended this week’s talks in Geneva, but major representatives from Libya Dawn and the GNC parliament refused to join, casting doubt over efforts to form a unity administration.
“Participants agreed to return to Geneva next week for a new round of dialogue after holding the necessary consultations,” the UN said in a statement.
“The mission and the participants expressed their hope that all the invited representatives, including those who did not attend this round, would take part in the talks next week.”
The agreement came after months of UN efforts to get the opposing sides back to the negotiating table after a single round of talks in September.
The broad agreement cobbled together in Geneva also saw the factions pledge to work towards ensuring the free movement of people across the divided nation.
They also vowed to respect the legitimacy of state institutions, work towards the peaceful transfer of power and reject violence.