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Ben Sutherland;

Talks on Libya unity deal stall despite UN warnings

Representatives from one of the conflicting sides in Libya has refused to take part in planned peace talks, despite threats by the United Nations (UN) to impose sanctions on any party delaying the establishment of a unity government in the North African country.

The General National Congress (GNC), based in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, said on Wednesday it would not take part in the talks expected to be held in Morocco later on Thursday.

“The amendments introduced in the latest text submitted by the UN did not include (our own) proposals,” the parliament in Tripoli said in a statement, referring to a proposal made by the UN aimed at resolving the current political crisis in the country.

The group, which rejected the proposal by the UN, said it would discuss a new draft.

Meanwhile, the Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) militia coalition, which seized the capital last year, also slammed the recent UN plan, describing it as “treason,” and saying it “sanctions the creation of a fascist dictatorship under the auspices of the UN.”

On July 1, dozens of protesters gathered in front of the GNC headquarters in Tripoli to express their opposition to the new UN draft. They also burned pictures of UN envoy Bernardino Leon, who is leading the talks.

This comes a day after the UN Security Council (UNSC) urged the Libyan factions to sign the proposal, which is the fourth of its kind, “in the coming days.”

The 15-member body said the establishment of a unity government was in the interest of the Libyan nation “in order to end Libya’s political, security and institutional crises and to confront the rising threat of terrorism.”

It also says that there can be no military solution to the crisis in Libya.

Earlier this week, the factions held a meeting in Morocco for the first time since January.

The leadership of Libya is divided between two rival administrations battling for control of the country, with the GNC being based Tripoli, and the other, the country’s internationally-recognized government, having been forced to flee to the northeastern city of Tobruk last August.

The Libyan factions have so far failed to reach an agreement that could lead to the formation of a unity government despite holding several rounds of UN-mediated talks in recent months.

The North African country has been witnessing chaos since a 2011 uprising that led to the ouster and subsequent killing of long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi.


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