The UN welcomes the “breakthrough” of the elections in Libya during political negotiations in Tunis | Middle East

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The warring parties in Libya have agreed to hold elections within 18 months, the United Nations said, hailing a “breakthrough” in a tense peacemaking process.”There is real momentum and this is what we need to focus on and encourage,” Stephanie Williams, the UN envoy to Libya, said Wednesday at a press conference in Tunis, where 75 Libyan participants chosen by the world body have met since Monday.

The meeting resulted in a preliminary agreement on a roadmap for “free, fair, inclusive and credible parliamentary and presidential elections” which also includes measures to unite institutions, she added.

A large oil producer, Libya has been plagued by violence since a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled and killed longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Since then, the North African country has been dominated by armed groups, torn by local conflicts and divided between two fiercely opposed administrations: the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) of Tripoli, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and a rival Eastern administration affiliated with renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, head of the Libyan National Army (LNA).

While foreign powers are also flocking to weapons and mercenaries, many Libyans remain skeptical about peace efforts. However, the Tunis talks follow a ceasefire agreed by the GNA and the ANL last month in Geneva.

On Thursday, a joint military commission they created in the city of Sirte, flashpoint, to clarify the details of the truce, will consider adopting proposals for both sides to withdraw from the front lines.

Thursday’s talks in Tunis will focus on a new unified transitional government to oversee the preparations for the elections, with participants discussing its “prerogatives and powers,” Williams said.

The new government is expected to quickly tackle deteriorating public services and corruption, two issues that have sparked protests on both sides of the front lines this summer, she added.

The road map also outlines the steps to begin a process of national reconciliation, transitional justice and addressing the plight of displaced people, Williams said.

She added that the Tuesday assassination of dissident lawyer Hanan al-Barassi in Benghazi “reminds us of the need for Libyans to truly end this long period of crisis, division, fragmentation and impunity.”



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