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World News

U.N. mulls blacklisting two Libyans to help political talks

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States, France, Spain and Britain have proposed that the United Nations Security Council blacklist two men linked to rival administrations in Libya, in hopes that doing so will help U.N.-led talks aimed at forming a unity government to end the power struggle.

The talks brokered by U.N. envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon resumed on Wednesday in Algiers on a draft proposal for a unity government for the war-ravaged North African state before a broader meeting expected in Morocco next week.

The four states want a global travel ban and asset freeze on Othman Maliqta, a militia leader loosely allied with Libya’s internationally recognised government, and Abdulrahman Swehli, a Misrata politician tied to the rival Libya Dawn administration.

In the proposal, seen by Reuters, they said this would “send a clear signal that spoilers of the political process will not be tolerated” and said the move could persuade more Libyan moderates to participate in the Morocco talks.

U.N. diplomats said Leon was trying to finalise a deal before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan starts later in June.

Libya has descended into factional fighting nearly four years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. Two competing governments backed by militias are scrambling for control of the oil-producing country. The chaos has created havens for Islamist militants.

“The Security Council should send an unambiguous signal of support to those moderates who may be leery of political participation due to their support for one side or another,” the four states wrote to the 15-member council’s Libya sanctions committee.

If there is no objection by any member of the sanctions committee by 3 p.m. (2000 London time) Friday, the two men will be blacklisted. . The proposal warns that more senior figures from either side could be proposed for sanctions in future.

It accused Maliqta, commander of the Zintani Qa’qa brigade, of attacking civilians and Libyan oil facilities and of trying to buy weapons and ammunition from outside Libya in violation of a four year old U.N. arms embargo on the country.

The proposal accuses Swehli of obstructing the U.N.-led talks, including by pressing for a Libya Dawn attack against the oil port of Sidra in February and the siege of government ministries by revolutionary militias.

Libya’s internationally recognised government, led by Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni, has operated out of the east since Libya Dawn took over Tripoli last year

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by David Gregorio

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