Fresh Libya talks kick off in Morocco

Published March 21st, 2015 - 07:18 GMT
Oil-rich Libya has been the site of deep unrest since the ousting of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi in late 2011, where a Tobruk-based parliament and Islamist-led parliament now wrestle for control. (AFP/File)
Oil-rich Libya has been the site of deep unrest since the ousting of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi in late 2011, where a Tobruk-based parliament and Islamist-led parliament now wrestle for control. (AFP/File)

A second round of UN-sponsored talks between Libya's warring factions kicked off Friday in the Moroccan city of Skhirat.

This round of talks has been postponed twice over the past week – once due to the absence of the Tobruk-based parliament's delegation, and a second time due to an attack on Tripoli's Mitigia airport, which led to the delay in the arrival of the Tripoli-based parliament's delegation to Morocco.

Friday's first meeting brought together UN Envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon and the Tobruk parliament's delegation, according to delegates who spoke to The Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.

Leon is expected to meet with the Tripoli parliament's delegation later Friday, along with civil society representatives, according to another delegate who spoke to AA but declined to be named.

Direct negotiations between Libya's two main rival factions have yet to take place, and talks are expected to last three days with the possibility of an extension if consensus is reached on a proposed document pertaining to the formation of a unity government and security arrangements.

Abu Bakr Baira, who heads the Tobruk delegation, told AA that Friday's talks "won't tackle legislative legitimacy, which remains a major obstacle to negotiations," saying the legitimacy of the Tripoli-based assembly was "fake."

Baria went on to urge the Tripoli parliament to withdraw from the political scene, warning that its refusal to do so would "derail the dialogue."

Saleh al-Makhzoum, deputy speaker of the Tripoli assembly, for his part, told AA that he had left the capital while it was "under bombardment by forces loyal to [rival army chief Khalifa] Haftar," but that his delegation was adamant about reaching Morocco "despite the attacks."

Al-Makhzoum emphasized the need for "direct negotiations with the other parties in order to reach a comprehensive vision on how to avert the current Libyan crisis."

Libya's warring rivals held a round of talks in Morocco last week in an effort to resolve the conflict in the fractious North African country.

Libya has remained in a state of turmoil since a bloody uprising ended the decades-long rule of strongman Muammar Gaddafi in late 2011.

Since then, the country's stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of government, each with its own institutions and military capacities.

Vying for legislative authority are the Tobruk-based parliament and an Islamist-led parliament that convenes in Tripoli.

The two assemblies support two rival governments respectively headquartered in the two cities.


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