Tripoli faction boycotts UN talks

UN talks on Libya stumble as self-declared Tripoli government postpones participation

Special UN envoy Bernardino Leon
Special UN envoy Bernardino Leon

The self-declared Tripoli government suspended its participation in peace talks on Thursday in Morocco for national reconciliation.

An armed alliance known as Libya Dawn took over the capital Tripoli and declared its own government last year, driving out the internationally recognized to the eastern city of Tobruk and deepening anarchy and division in the oil-producing North African country.

The Islamist coalition Libyan Dawn wrote on its Facebook page that the peace plan ''is a betrayal that aims to create a dictatorial regime under the UN auspices''.

UN Special Envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon has met with all the delegations that have arrived in Skhirat, Morocco, despite the boycott. The new round of talks in the Moroccan costal town of Skhirat had been expected to initial an agreement on creating a unified government.

But Samir Ghattas, spokesman for the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), said: "The Tripoli delegation has not attended Thursday meetings."

The Tripoli-based parliament, the General National Congress (GNC), said it was postponing its participation until next week because it needed more time for consultation.

"The draft did not include substantive amendments made by the GNC," its spokesman, Omar Humaidan, said in a televised statement.

Four years after the overthrow of veteran ruler Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is in turmoil, with its oil industry producing less than half its usual output and two armed factions battling for control. Islamist militants have also gained ground.

The UN proposal calls for a one-year government of national accord in which a council of ministers headed by a prime minister and two deputies would have executive authority. The House of Representatives - the elected, internationally recognized parliament - would be the legislative body.

It also calls for the creation of a second consultative chamber, the State Council. This would have 120 members, of whom 90 would come from the rival Tripoli parliament, the agreement says.

Leon said last week there were still points that were not agreed by the parties, including a court decision challenging the legitimacy of the elected parliament and powers to be given to a second chamber.

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