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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Libya Political Talks in Morocco Appear Bumpy Despite Some Measure of Goodwill

By Edward Yeranian September 07, 2020

As political talks wound down on the second and final day of negotiations in the town of Bouznika, Libya's two rival camps issued a statement saying that they were "intent on reaching an agreement."

Libya's Tobruk-based parliament spokesman Abdallah Bilhaq told journalists Monday that "the objective of the talks is to decide how to apportion posts and not to select any names for those posts."

"Any agreement," he added, "must be taken back to parliament for approval."

Libya has had two rival governments since militias forced Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni to flee Tripoli in 2014. He continues to govern eastern regions.

A 2015 U.N.-sponsored political accord in the Moroccan town of Skheirat formed a new Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, which controls western parts of Libya.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, who presided over this week's talks, tried to keep an upbeat tone during the meetings.

He said that political initiatives from both parliament speaker Aquilah Salah and the National Unity Government may push matters forward to a peaceful conclusion of the Libyan crisis.

The Saudi-owned Asharqalawsat newspaper reported that the main objective of the talks was to "reshape the ruling government structure," and to bring down the number of leading figures in the country's ruling council from nine to three.

Libyan member of parliament Ali Paqbel told the BBC Arabic service that "it makes sense to bring the number of ruling council members down from nine to three, since the country has three main regions," but added that he "opposes picking names from specific tribes or groups since that is not how to run a modern country."

Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, told VOA that he thinks that "the military option is Libya appears to be losing steam amid a widespread stalemate, making the political option more attractive."

Aya Burweila, visiting lecturer at the Hellenic National Defense College, told VOA that the talks "are a promising sign," but that many observers are "worried about the independence of the High Council of State from (Turkey)."

Tripoli-based Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj met with Turkish President Reccip Tayyib Erdogan in Ankara on Sunday.

Formal Libyan political talks are expected to get under way in Geneva on September 17.

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