UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A new round of U.N.-brokered peace talks aimed at ending the escalating political crisis in Libya has been delayed once again and will not take place early this week as originally planned, diplomatic sources said on Sunday.
The United Nations had planned to hold a second round of talks on Monday to end a confrontation between two rival governments and parliaments. It has been working for months to organize Libyan peace talks but has said previously that a military escalation was undermining its efforts.
“Consultations to hold the second round of dialogue continue with the parties to reach agreement on the timing and venue. So, not tomorrow,” one diplomatic source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Another diplomatic source confirmed the remarks.
It was not clear when, and if, the new dialogue would take place.
The new talks have been repeatedly delayed due to difficulties getting the parties to agree to meet. U.N. special envoy to Libya Bernadino Leon told the Security Council last month that the parties involved had agreed in principle to meet on Jan. 5.
Libya has had two governments and parliaments competing for legitimacy since a group called Libya Dawn seized the capital in August, installing its cabinet and forcing the government of recognized Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni to the east.
World powers fear the Libyan conflict will lead to civil war as former rebel groups that helped oust the country’s former leader, the late Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011 fight for power and a share of its vast oil reserves.
Leon has said that the Libya dialogue would include members of the General National Congress, the country’s previous assembly reinstated by the new rulers in the capital Tripoli.
Hundreds of civilians in Libya have been killed in fighting since late August, the United Nations has said, warning commanders of armed groups that they could face prosecution for possible war crimes, including executions and torture.
The conflict has driven at least 120,000 people from their homes, according to a joint report by the U.N. human rights office and U.N. Support Mission in Libya that also documents shelling of civilian areas.
Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Jeremy Laurence