TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya’s warring factions who operate rival governments have agreed “in principle” to hold future talks to end the crisis in Libya, moving the negotiations away from Geneva, the United Nations said on Thursday.
Some of the opposing factions met in Geneva earlier this month under the auspices of the United Nations, but key representatives from a Tripoli-based government and parliament stayed away, demanding the dialogue be held within Libya.
“There was agreement on the principle of convening future dialogue sessions in Libya, provided that logistical and security conditions are available,” the U.N. Mission for Libya (UNSMIL) said in a statement after another round of talks in Geneva this week.
The Tripoli-based parliament, known as the GNC, would also “end its suspension” of the negotiations, the assembly’s second deputy president, Saleh Mahzoum, said on Thursday.
Nearly four years after a NATO-backed revolt ousted Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is in turmoil with two rival governments and two parliaments backed by armed factions which Western governments fear are dragging the country into civil war.
The internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni and the elected House of Representatives have worked out of the east of the country after another group, Libya Dawn, seized Tripoli last summer, set up its own government and reinstated the old parliament, the GNC.
Last week, the GNC said it was suspending its participation in the U.N.-backed talks, blaming the seizing of a central bank branch in Benghazi by Thinni’s forces.
Thinni’s government said the bank, which controls vital oil revenues, was only being secured.
The precarious security situation in Libya was highlighted on Tuesday, when gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Tripoli, killing at least nine people.
Reporting by Ahmed Elumami and Ulf Laessing; editing by Patrick Markey