Libya rivals begin second round of talks on interim government

Transitional government to lead the conflict-stricken country to elections in December next year, according to the UN.

Stephanie Williams headed the online meeting on Monday [File: Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters]

Libya’s rivals have begun a second round of talks on a mechanism to choose a transitional government that would lead the conflict-stricken country to elections in December next year, according to the United Nations.

UN acting envoy for Libya, Stephanie Williams, headed the online meeting of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum on Monday, a week after the first round of the talks in Tunisia failed to name an executive authority.

The 75-member forum, however, reached an agreement to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24, 2021. It also agreed to name a volunteer legal committee to work on the “constitutional basis for the election”.

The political forum was the latest effort to end the chaos that engulfed the oil-rich North African nation after the 2011 overthrow and killing of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

The UN mission in Libya said last week it was investigating allegations of bribes paid to some participants in the forum to vote for certain names to be part of the transitional government.

The mission did not name anyone but promised to impose international sanctions on anyone obstructing the talks.

Peaceful settlement

The forum took place amid a heavy international push to reach a peaceful settlement to Libya’s conflict. Previous diplomatic initiatives have all collapsed.

Libya is split between a UN-recognised government in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities based in the east.

The two sides are backed by an array of local militias, as well as regional and foreign powers.

The country’s warring sides agreed to a UN-brokered ceasefire last month in Geneva, a deal that included the departure of foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya within three months.

No progress was announced on the issue of foreign forces and mercenaries a month after they signed the ceasefire deal.

Thousands of foreign fighters, including Russians, Syrians, Sudanese and Chadians, have been brought to Libya by both sides, according to UN experts.

In a show of support to the UN mission, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom on Monday threatened to “take measures” against anyone standing in the way of talks aimed at ending the conflict, without specifying.

In a joint statement, the four European countries urged the Libyan parties to “fully implement the ceasefire agreement”, and find an agreed “mechanism for the fair and transparent use of oil revenues”.

In September, forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, a renegade commander allied with authorities in the east, announced an end to a months-long blockade of the country’s vital oil fields and terminals.

Source: News Agencies