UN Special Envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon (L) chairs talks between Libya's two rival parliaments aimed at bringing an end to the violence wracking the country in Skhirate, Morocco, on March 5, 2015
UN Special Envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon (L) chairs talks between Libya's two rival parliaments aimed at bringing an end to the violence wracking the country in Skhirate, Morocco, on March 5, 2015 © Fadel Senna - AFP/File
UN Special Envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon (L) chairs talks between Libya's two rival parliaments aimed at bringing an end to the violence wracking the country in Skhirate, Morocco, on March 5, 2015
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AFP
Last updated: March 7, 2015

Libyan factions upbeat about UN-mediated talks

Rival Libyan factions said Friday they were upbeat about the course of UN-mediated talks under way in Morocco aimed at brokering a deal on a national unity government.

UN envoy Bernardino Leon shuttled between representatives of Libya's rival parliaments, the General National Congress and the elected and internationally recognised legislature, for a second day near Rabat.

Elected parliament member Cherif El Wafi said the talks had been "positive".

"We are now going to discuss the make-up of a national unity government," he told reporters.

He admitted there are some disagreements over the names being discussed, but expected the rival parliaments to bridge their differences.

He said talks would resume on Tuesday in Morocco, adding that he hoped the line-up would be announced by the end of next week.

But GNC member Mustapha Abu Shakura said a "written agreement could be reached on Saturday".

He said talks are now focusing on "security issues, a ceasefire and the organisation of the army".

Libya has been wracked by conflict since the 2011 armed uprising against Moamer Kadhafi, with the two governments and powerful militias battling for control of key cities and the North African country's oil riches.

In the latest violence there, Islamic State group jihadists killed eight guards on Friday in an attack on the southern oilfield of Al-Ghani, a security source said.

- 'Serious threat' -

Libya's elected parliament is based in the eastern city of Tobruk while the rival Islamist-backed GNC is in the capital Tripoli.

Leon met members of the Tobruk-based parliament on Friday morning before later seeing delegates from Tripoli, an AFP journalist said.

He later told reporters "there is no solution in Libya out of this dialogue", and stressed that the security issue "is extremely important" and any act of violence would endanger the Morocco talks.

"Yesterday morning we welcomed a statement from Libyan national army announcing that there won't be air strikes during the coming days to support the talks in Morocco," Leon said, speaking in English.

"We have seen yesterday and today new air strikes. This is a serious threat to what we are trying to achieve here, and I call again all the Libyan actors to avoid such behaviours, such actions, and to support the dialogue."

Leon, who had been trying for weeks to bring the two sides together, told journalists late Thursday that the first day of talks had been "positive and constructive".

Morocco's Foreign Affairs Minister Salaheddine Mezouar, meanwhile, told reporters that Libya's neighbours are hoping to see "stability and unity" restored.

However, the indirect nature of the discussions in Morocco has been criticised by the GNC deputy speaker, who heads the Tripoli delegation.

"This method is not reliable. We need to unite around the same table to get things done," Salah al-Makhzoum said.

Representatives of both parliaments had already held indirect talks on February 11 at Ghadames in southern Libya, under UN auspices, the first of their kind since a national dialogue was launched at the end of September 2014.

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