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Ben Sutherland;

Libya Tripoli govt. delegation in Morocco for peace talks: UN

A delegation representing one of the Libyan rival factions has arrived in Morocco to hold a fresh round of peace talks brokered by the United Nations in a bid to resolve the ongoing conflict in the North African state, a UN official says.

Libya has two rival governments battling for control of the country, with one faction, the General National Congress (GNC), governing Tripoli, and the other, the country’s internationally-recognized government, controlling the cities of Tobruk and Bayda.

Officials from the Tripoli-based government arrived in Morocco on Thursday to participate in the peace talks scheduled to be held on Friday.

“The delegation from Tripoli has arrived along with some independent figures. The one from Tobruk arrives tomorrow and we will officially resume discussions,” Samir Ghattas, the spokesman for the UN Support Mission in Libya, said on Thursday.

The rival Libyan parliaments held talks earlier this month in the Moroccan city of Skhirat during which the UN special envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, proposed a draft calling for the formation of a unity government in the African country.

The 69-article peace draft proposes the formation of a transitional government of national unity for a period of one year, making parliament of the internationally-recognized government the legislative authority in the interim period. However, it stipulates that a high council of state, mainly drawn from the GNC, should be able to “express binding opinion with a qualified majority on draft laws.”

Under the proposed plan, the sides should integrate their militias into a reformed military controlled directly by the government, and the former rebel fighters have been offered a chance to join up or be reintegrated into civilian life.

Libya’s internationally-recognized parliament expressed dissatisfaction with the proposed draft agreement discussed in the latest round of UN-brokered peace talks, but the Tripoli-based government welcomed the draft. The Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) militia loyal to Libya’s Tripoli-based government also welcomed the proposed agreement but said “modifications” needed to be made before it would sign a final version of the deal.

Several rounds of peace talks brokered by the UN in recent months have failed to deliver any practical results that could lead to the formation of a unity government.

“We hope that this will be the final session,” Ghattas said.

On June 17, the United Nations Security Council called on all Libyan rival factions to accept the draft UN agreement and form a unity government.

The Security Council underlined the “urgency for the Libyan parties to agree on a Government of National Accord.”

Libya plunged into chaos following the ouster of the former ruler, Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011, which gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions.

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