Libyan parties to reconvene in Morocco for UN talks

Delegates from Libya’s two feuding assemblies convene in Morocco to hold next round of talks in Skhirat

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The United Nations-brokered talks aimed at forming a unity government out of Libya’s two warring parliamentary bodies is set to resume on Monday in the Moroccan resort town of Skhirat, where the two bodies first agreed to pursue a joint assembly.

Delegates from the Tripoli-based General National Council (GNC) and its rival House of Representatives (HoR) assembly are expected to travel to the city to take part in what the UN called the “decisive” round.

"The mission has received thousands of messages from Libyans gravely concerned about the deteriorating conditions in their country, demanding the swift resumption of the dialogue talks and expressing hope that the Libyan political actors would seize the opportunity," the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said in an official statement.

"The meeting in Skhirat (Morocco) will discuss a new draft of the political agreement based on the latest input of the parties," it continued.

Libya has been divided between two rival parliamentary bodies since the HoR was founded after a largely boycotted elections with less than 20 percent turnout, following which armed attempts by HoR-loyal militias failed to forcibly disband the GNC.

The conflict in Libya broke out into widespread clashes when HoR army head Khalifa Haftar launched “Operation Dignity” in an armed bid to capture the cities of Benghazi, Misrata and Tripoli from the GNC in August, with clashes in Benghazi remaining heated ever since.

Now operating out of the eastern border town of Tobruk, the HoR enjoys greater international influence as the GNC retains control over most of the country’s internal affairs.

Egypt, once the HoR’s most active backer and ally in air strikes against the GNC, urged the two parties and the international community to "stop wasting time" in forming a coalition government.

"We can't wait for the political solution even though we all back and recommend it. We don't back a military option but we cannot postpone fighting terrorism," Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri said in a meeting with his counterparts from Italy and Algeria.

Shoukri added that "We can't wait for the political solution even though we all back and recommend it.”

The international community began to expedite talks set on unifying the GNC and the HoR after the emergence of ISIS in the city of Derna, around 160 kilometres from the HoR’s headquarters.

Due to the lack of order in eastern Libya, ISIS was able to expand its influence uncontested on the ground, occupying parts of the central city of Sirte where forces from the Tripoli-allied Dawn Alliance’s 166th Misratan battalion continue to clash with the militants.

TRTWorld and agencies