Libyan delegates start a new round of talks for

Delegates from war-torn Libya on Wednesday launched a new round of UN-led talks via video conferencing in order to reach a compromise ahead of planned elections in December.

The meeting comes six weeks after unsuccessful negotiations in Switzerland between the 75 participants from all sides gathered for Libya’s political dialogue forum.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya was forced to admit that the session failed after four days due to a lack of consensus among the delegates.

On Wednesday, the forum will once again try to agree on a constitutional framework for governing the decisive parliamentary and presidential elections in December.

Oil-rich Libya plunged into chaos after dictator Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown and killed in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.

Two rival administrations later emerged, backed by a complex patchwork of militias, mercenaries and foreign powers.

While Turkey supported a UN-recognized administration in Tripoli, Eastern Putz general Khalifa Haftar enjoyed the support of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Russia.

During a UN-backed ceasefire agreed in October last year, an interim administration was set up in March to prepare for a presidential and parliamentary inquiry on 24 December.

The agreement was hailed at the time as “historic” at the time, but since then divisions have re-emerged, raising doubts about the likelihood that the election will go as planned.

The US envoy meets Haftar

At the same time, the US ambassador to Libya met on Wednesday with Haftar amid growing tensions between the warlord and the transitional government.

Haftar announced earlier this week campaigns for military officers without consulting or obtaining approval from the ruling presidential council. The head of the council acts as commander-in-chief of Libya’s fragmented military.

“Your military will not be subjected to any authority other than an election of the people,” Haftar told his troops on Monday in a ceremony to celebrate the founding of the Libyan military in Benghazi.

Richard Norland met Haftar in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. The meeting was part of the US efforts to support Libyan parliamentary and presidential elections in December, the US embassy said.

Norland “continues to focus on the urgency of supporting the difficult compromises required to establish the constitutional basis and legal framework needed now for the elections to take place on 24 December,” the embassy wrote on Twitter.

“The United States supports the right of the Libyan people to elect their leaders through an open democratic process and urges key individuals to use their influence at this critical stage to do what is best for all Libyans,” it said.

Last month, the UN Special Envoy for Libya, Jan Kubis, accused “spoilers” of trying to thwart decisive elections in December to unite the divided nation. He told the UN Security Council that many key actors in Libya had reiterated their commitment to the election, but “I am afraid many of them are not ready to go through the talks.”

The Security Council has warned that any individual or group that undermines the electoral process could be subject to UN sanctions.

Another major obstacle is the presence of thousands of foreign forces and mercenaries, and the failure to pull out those required by last October’s ceasefire agreement that ended the fighting in the oil-rich country.

Meanwhile, the UN mission on Tuesday expressed concern over the abduction and disappearance of a government official in Tripoli earlier this month.

Rida Faraj Fraitis, chief of staff for the prime minister’s first deputy and a colleague was kidnapped by armed men after Fraiti’s visit to government offices in the capital on August 2, the mission states. Their fate is still unknown.

The UN mission said it was concerned about the continued orientation of people who support the democratic transition. Such a focus “has serious consequences for the peace and reconciliation process and for the full unification of national institutions,” the mission said.


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