Libya envoy Bernardino Leon says text of peace deal finalized

The United Nations has handed Libya’s warring factions a final draft of a peace accord to end their conflict. Hardliners from both sides had long resisted peace talks, hoping they could gain more from the conflict

Special UN envoy Bernardino Leon
Special UN envoy Bernardino Leon

UN envoy Bernardino Leon said late on Monday that a final text of a peace deal for war-torn Libya had been reached at talks in the Moroccan resort of Skhirate.

Handing the final draft of a peace accord to Libya’s warring factions, Leon said the UN’s work was over and they had to take the deal or leave it.

“We have now a text that is a final text, and our part in the process is now finished,” the envoy said after a lengthy day of negotiations between delegates.

“Now it is up to the parties, the participants to react to this text.”

Leon added that the factions inside Libya would now have to agree to the text and that he hoped discussions on the makeup of a national unity government would take place after the end of this week’s Islamic Eid festival.

He further explained that all parties had confirmed their willingness to return to discuss representatives for a united government within days and for a deal to be signed in Libya before October 20.

Libya’s chaotic civil war saw the country’s numerous militias line up behind the internationally recognized government based in the far eastern city of Tobruk and a rival Islamist administration in the capital Tripoli, in the west.

The conflict in Libya has added to the number of refugees entering Europe in recent months

The conflict has allowed the “Islamic State” extremist group to gain territory in the centre of the country and has added to the flow of refugees and migrants leaving its Mediterranean coast in the hope of reaching Europe.

Recent days saw an uptick in fighting, as Tobruk’s army commander General Khalifa Haftar launched a renewed assault on hard-line Islamist militias in the eastern city of Benghazi, drawing criticism from the United Nations.

On Sunday, the UN accused the army of Libya’s internationally recognized government of deliberately trying to sabotage the peace talks with a new offensive in Benghazi.

Libya has suffered constant instability since the overthrow and killing of long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. 

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