Libya's rival governments reach diplomatic breakthrough in Rome

Libya's warring rival governments have reached an agreement in a deal brokered by Italy, in a meeting described as having 'an atmosphere of friendliness and openness'

The presidents of the House of Representatives, Ageela Saleh (R), and the State Council, Abdulrahman Sewehli, met in Rome and agreed to work together to resolve the Libyan crisis
The presidents of the House of Representatives, Ageela Saleh (R), and the State Council, Abdulrahman Sewehli, met in Rome and agreed to work together to resolve the Libyan crisis

Libya's warring rival governments have reached an new political agreement in a deal brokered by Rome.

The Tobruk-based House of Representatives and the Tripoli-based, UN-backed government of national unity announced they had reached a deal that Tripoli said would "stop the bleeding as well as [ensure] the return of displaced persons".

The scale of the breakthrough will be tested later this week, but Italy is hailing a compromise brokered between the presidents of the house of representatives, Ageela Saleh, and the state council, Abdulrahman Sewehli.

The meeting was overseen by the Italian foreign minister, Angelino Alfano, and the Italian ambassador to Libya.

Few details were released about what had been agreed in Rome, but according to a statement from the state council, “there was an atmosphere of friendliness and openness”. The statement also said there would have to be further consultations between the two sides this week in order to bring about reconciliation.

The house of representatives led by Saleh has refused to recognise the Tripoli government's authority since its inception in 2015, until changes are made to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), which can only be effected by a joint team from the house and the state council. This has led to political deadlock and a military standoff between forces in the west and east of the country.

The state council said in a note: “We agreed to reach peaceful and fair solutions to outstanding issues,” a reference to one of the fundamental dilemmas in the Libyan crisis.

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