Libya's rival parties start UN-brokered direct political talks in TunisiaEuropost
Libya's rival parties on Monday began UN-brokered direct political talks in neighbouring Tunisia, the latest effort to reach peace and end years of war in the North African country, dpa reported.
Stephanie Williams, the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, opened the six-day meetings of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) in Tunis, attended by 75 delegates from Libya. The forum conducted its first meeting online late last month.
"We are standing on the verge of a new Libya after years of division, destruction and multiple crises," Williams told the opening ceremony, which was attended by Tunisian President Kais Saied. "We are moving forward with confident steps in the multiple paths overseen by the United Nations, depending on the determination of the Libyan people, their will and their right to protect their nation and sovereignty and their country's wealth," she added. She said the way to this forum was neither easy nor smooth and was paved by the signing of a ceasefire agreement last month.
In a speech to the participants, Saied called for a unification effort. He urged those who will be in charge of the transitional period to not run in later presidential and parliamentary elections to avert tensions.
The LPDF was originally established after a January 19 international conference on Libya. On 23 October, the two sides signed a country-wide ceasefire agreement in Geneva. Last week, military leaders from both sides met for the first time inside Libya, in the city of Ghadames. They agreed on steps to implement the ceasefire agreement.
Libya has been in turmoil since a 2011 revolt toppled long-time dictator Moamer Gaddafi. The oil-rich country has two main competing administrations: the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and a government based in the eastern city of Tobruk, allied with military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who leads forces in the country's east.