Libya parties, factions agree peace deal

Some factions, but not legally-installed Tripoli government, agree framework for peace accord following UN-brokered talks in Morocco

Libyan political parties and some of the country’s warring factions have agreed on a framework for a UN-proposed peace accord following talks in Morocco, despite the absence of the Tripoli rival parliament.

“This is a step, but it is really an important step along the path to peace,” UN envoy Bernardino Leon said at a ceremony in the Moroccan resort of Skhirat marking the agreement.  

The deal was backed by members of Libya's internationally recognised parliament, based in the eastern port city of Tobruk, as well as representatives of political parties, municipalities and civil society groups.

But a key player - the General National Congress (GNC), the legally installed government in Tripoli - and its allied Libya Dawn militia were not part of the agreement. The Tripoli government has rejected a UN proposal to resolve Libya's political crisis by forming of a national unity government and holding new elections.

Bernardino Leon, the UN envoy for Libya, said the "door is open to all not present" when he announced the draft accord, and added that remaining contentious issues could be discussed after the conclusion of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan this month.

"They have also played a critical role in this text. As I have said many times, there is no text that is entirely satisfactory to all parties and that responds to all their demands... I am confident that in the weeks ahead a clear decision will be made and will address all sides and issues," Leon said.

There is hope that a GNC delegation might return to Skheirat for consultations on the final points of the draft deal after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

One of the key issues where the parties are divided is the status of General Khalifa Haftar. He has been declared the army chief by the Tobruk administration, but GNC want him removed.

The UN-brokered deal will provide the rival groups with a framework to live together and begin a transitional period of one year in which they can decide issues including disarmament, control of the country's airports and writing a constitution.

It is viewed as an important step because the parties who wish to join the next period of negotiations would be required to abide by the wording of the draft accord.

The role of neighbouring countries including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey was said to be vital to the pact.

Libya has been plunged into chaos since the 2011 overthrow of dictator and Muammar Gaddafi, with two opposing governments and parliaments and armed groups battling to control its cities and oil wealth.

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