Libyan sides meet in Morocco as peace efforts progress

Nominations open for posts in transitional government overseeing run-up to December elections

FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2020 file photo, Stephanie Williams, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission speaks during a news conference in Tunis, Tunisia. Williams said Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021,  an advisory committee of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum agreed on a recommended mechanism for choosing a transitional government that would lead the conflict-stricken country to elections late this year. (AP Photo/Walid Haddad, File)
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Representatives of Libya's rival camps began talks in Morocco on Friday as part of UN-backed efforts to bring an end to nearly a decade of conflict.

Oil-rich Libya has been riven by civil war since the uprising that ousted long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

The Government of National Accord is based in the capital Tripoli, while the House of Representatives is based in the east.

A fragile ceasefire between the two sides, agreed in Geneva last October, has largely held.

The meeting in the Moroccan coastal town of Bouznika, south of the capital Rabat, brings together 13 representatives from the Tobruk-based House of Representatives, and 13 from the Tripoli-based High Council of State, which advises the GNA.

The GNA has said the talks would centre on appointments to the country's key institutions – already the focus of previous talks in Morocco in recent months – such as the electoral commission, the central bank and the anti-corruption commission.

The UN in November gathered 75 Libyan participants in a political dialogue in Tunis aimed at setting a roadmap to national elections that they set for late December.

Libyan envoys at UN-backed talks in Egypt agreed on Wednesday to hold a constitutional referendum before elections planned for December 24.

At separate talks in Geneva earlier this week, Libyan representatives agreed on rules for selecting a new three-member presidential council and a prime minister to oversee the run-up to the election.

The United Nations Libya mission said nomination of candidates for the executive posts opened on Thursday and must be made within a week.

Dialogue members will vote on the candidates from February 1-5 in Switzerland.

Turkey, the GNA's main supporter, on Friday welcomed the agreement on forming an interim executive.

Turkey "hopes that the structure of the new unity executive will be determined as soon as possible", the foreign ministry said.