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Libya's Tripoli Faction Delays Joining Unity Government Talks

August 27, 2015

by VOA News

The United Nations said talks to form a unity government in Libya restarted in Morocco Thursday but without the Tripoli delegation, which is reorganizing its negotiating team.

Thursday's statement said talks had begun, but this round would be without the Tripoli-based negotiators, whose chief resigned following differences with the faction's leader.

The group did not say how long it might be until they could take part in the talks.

Latest hold-up

The announcement was the latest in a series of hold-ups over the talks, which Western officials say are the only hope of halting the fighting that has crippled the country since the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi four years ago.

U.N. special envoy to Libya Bernadino Leon warned that time was running out as the country faces economic and political challenges.

Libya's internationally recognized government and elected parliament have operated out of Tobruk, in the country's east, since an armed alliance known as Libya Dawn took over the capital Tripoli and set up its own self-declared government last year.

Militant groups allied to each of the two administrations have brought the country's oil-dependent economy to its knees, and most of Libya is lawless and run by armed groups attached to neither government.

The Islamic State group has also used the chaos to gain a foothold in the country.

Unity government

However, Leon said he was optimistic that the country's two parliaments will be ready to agree on forming a unity government by mid-September.

"I continue to believe that around Sept. 10 we will be in a position to have a final agreement," Leon told France 24 in an interview aired late Wednesday.

The Tripoli delegation is the only one that has not initialed the national unity government agreement, a product of seven months of negotiations.

The negotiating teams have been discussing a U.N. proposal that 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 priority is to conclude a political accord. Libya's main weapon against Islamic State is unity," Leon said, when asked whether there should be an international intervention to fight the group.

Some material for this report came from Reuters and AP.

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