Libyan factions to hold talks in Geneva

Dialogue, to be hosted by UN office, aims to reach agreement on political issues including unity-government formation.

    The UN says it will host a new round of peace talks between Libya's rival factions in Geneva next week.

    The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) announced in a statement on Saturday the fresh round of political dialogue would be held at the UN office in the Swiss city.

    The agreement was reached after wide and intensive consultations with the parties by Bernardino Leon, UNSMIL's head who is also the UN chief's special representative for Libya, over the past several weeks.

    In the statement, the UN said the primary objective of the dialogue will be to reach agreement on the management of the remainder of the transitional period, including the formation of a unity government that enjoys wide support.

    The statement also stated that the political dialogue may pave the way for a stable environment for the constitutional process in which a new permanent constitution can be adopted.

    Federica Mogherini, the EU's chief diplomat, urged Libya's rival factions to make the best of next week's peace talks in Geneva, warning that it "represents a last chance which must be seized".

    "Libya is at a crucial juncture; the different actors should be in no doubt of the gravity of the situation that the country finds itself in. The opportunity to establish a ceasefire and find a political solution should not be wasted," Mogherini said.

    UN urges ceasefire

    UN-sponsored talks planned to be held inside Libya were cancelled last week, and the UN has since proposed a temporary ceasefire in order to facilitate talks.

    International concern has been mounting over Libya, which is mired in its worst fighting since Western and Gulf-backed fighters overthrew Muammar Gaddafi, the country's long-time ruler, in 2011.

    After weeks of fighting in the summer, an armed faction, Libya Dawn, allied to the western city of Misrata, took over Tripoli, driving out fighters from the city of Zintan who had set up in the capital after the fall of Gaddafi.

    Libya's internationally recognised government of Abdullah al-Thinni and the elected parliament now operate out of the east.

    Most countries pulled their diplomats out of Tripoli after the city fell to Libya Dawn forces.

    Each faction claims the mantle of true liberators of Libya, each brands its fighters the real army and each seeks international recognition in a conflict that Western powers and African neighbours worry will fracture Libya.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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