October 21, 2015 / 1:25 PM / 4 years ago

U.N. envoy says talks continue with warring Libyan factions

TUNIS (Reuters) - The U.N. envoy to Libya said on Wednesday consultations would continue with both the country’s warring factions after the chief of the elected parliament said the congress had rejected a U.N. proposal to end the crisis.

Members of the military guard a protest against candidates for a national unity government proposed by U.N. envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon, in Benghazi, Libya, October 16, 2015. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

Libya is mired in a conflict between its internationally-recognized government and elected parliament on one side, and a self-styled administration holding Tripoli on the other, with each backed by loose coalitions of armed factions.

After months of talks, the United Nations has drafted a deal to form a national unity government and has proposed a six-member executive council to lead it. But both sides have balked at parts of those accords, stalling any final agreement.

On Monday, the chief of the elected House of Representatives based in the eastern city of Tobruk said the congress had rejected the U.N. proposal. But there were conflicting reports on whether lawmakers had officially voted on the deal.

“In the coming days I will be conducting meetings with the Libyans,” U.N. envoy Bernardino Leon told reporters in the Tunisian capital Tunis. “We hope to see the majority of the members in Tripoli and in Tobruk approving this accord.”

Leon said “small groups” of political leaders could not block a dialogue and a unity government.

The international community is pushing for both sides to accept the U.N. deal to end a conflict which has allowed Islamist militants and people-smugglers to gain ground in the chaos just over the Mediterranean from mainland Europe.

Since last year, Tripoli has been controlled by Libya Dawn, an alliance of armed factions linked with Misrata city, and more Islamist-leaning armed groups who took over the capital and set up their own government and reinstated the old parliament.

The internationally-recognized government and elected parliament have since operated out of the east, backed by a coalition of other armed factions, including Gen. Khalifa Haftar, once an ally of autocrat Muammar Gaddafi.

But the Oct. 20 end of the elected parliament’s mandate has critics questioning its legitimacy, especially after lawmakers extended their own term until they can hand over power to the next elected body.

The recognized government’s prime minister, Abdullah Al-Thinni, on Wednesday criticized the international community for what he said was a lack of support for the country’s legitimate institutions to fight Islamist militant groups on the ground.

“We hold the UN mission to Libya, the United Nations and the Security Council fully responsible,” a statement said.

“The expansion of these criminal gangs is an imminent threat not only to the Libyans, but to neighboring countries, and will have serious implications for international peace and security.”

Analysts say a weak agreement or failure to secure a unity government will encourage hardliners on both sides to push for more military action against rivals.

Both factions struggle with splits within their own camps over the terms of a U.N. draft agreement, amendments they want included or the names proposed by the U.N. to lead the unity government.

United Nations and European officials say a national unity government would bring more aid and cooperation from the international community, and have threatened those who block a deal with international sanctions.

Additional reporting by Ayman Al-Warfalli in Benghazi; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Andrew Roche

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below