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U.N. calls for rapid Libya accord after lawmakers propose rival deal

ALGIERS (Reuters) - The United Nations urged Libyan lawmakers who signed a separate peace proposal to back a U.N.-sponsored deal between the country’s warring factions, saying remaining differences could be worked out after the accord.

After a year of negotiations, the United Nations has proposed a national unity deal between Libya’s two rival governments and their parliaments, one based in Tripoli, and the internationally recognised one in the east.

Western powers have backed the U.N. proposal as the only solution to a conflict that is allowing Islamic State militants to gain a foothold in the North African oil producer.

Moderates in both camps have accepted the U.N. agreement, but hardliners are resisting any deal to end the conflict four years after a NATO-backed rebellion ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

A group of lawmakers from Tripoli’s General National Congress (GNC) and the House of Representatives over the weekend announced in Tunisia a separate deal without U.N. involvement and said they would put that to the vote in each parliament.

“I encourage those who still oppose to join the majority; the remaining questions can be addressed after forming the new government,” U.N. envoy Martin Kobler said in a statement late on Monday.

“I have met today the two delegations of HOR and GNC, who signed a declaration in Tunis yesterday. I urged them to join the process; Libyan people cannot tolerate any more delay.”

Western governments and Libyan leaders plan to meet in Rome next week to push the factions to agree to the U.N. proposal that calls for a presidential committee of representatives to name a government.

But splits within each faction have delayed the signing of any deal with each camp demanding more concessions. Opponents say the agreement does not address key points on balance of power and security arrangements such as the new Libyan army.

A group of lawmakers from the House of Representatives said on Monday they still backed the U.N. deal rejecting any separate negotiations.

After the fall of Gaddafi, rival brigades of former rebels who once fought together turned against one another, fighting for control of the country and its resources.

Tripoli has been controlled since last year by a faction called Libya Dawn that drove with rivals inside the capital, set up its own government and reinstated the old parliament.

The internationally recognised government and the elected House of Representatives now operates in the east backed by another coalition of former rebels and a former Gaddafi ally Gen. Khalifa Haftar who they named armed forces commander.

Reporting by Patrick Markey