UN: Libyan political dialogue to resume next month

Meeting to take place in early November, UN says

Representatives of Libya's rival administrations take part in a meeting in the coastal Moroccan town of Temara, on October 6, 2020. Libya's rival administrations announced separately in August that they would cease all hostilities and hold nationwide elections, before delegates met in Morocco for talks. / AFP / FADEL SENNA
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The UN mission in Libya announced direct talks will take place between the country's rivals early next month in neighbouring Tunisia.

The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum will be "in early November, following preparatory virtual consultations", the UN mission said on Saturday.

The forum will try "to generate consensus on a unified governance framework and arrangements that will lead to national elections in the shortest possible timeframe".

Libya has been racked by conflict since the overthrow and killing of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, with rival power centres and several militias vying for control.

The two main factions are the Government of National Accord in Tripoli and the House of Representatives in the eastern city of Tobruk.

Efforts to advance the political process have been repeatedly interrupted since a deal signed in Morocco in December 2015.

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on the GNA in April 2019, but was beaten back in June 2020 by Tripoli with military support from Turkey.

Hope for a solution to the crisis has risen, however, after the two main warring factions announced in August that they would cease hostilities.

The move was followed by UN-backed talks in Morocco, Egypt and Switzerland.

The UN mission said it "has made it a requirement for participants to the [forum] to recuse themselves from political and sovereign positions in any new executive arrangement ... and to refrain from the use of hate speech and incitement to violence".

Participants "will be drawn from key Libyan constituencies and with a firm commitment to the meaningful participation of Libyan women and youth", the UN said.

As fighting has eased, attention has turned to the coronavirus crisis. Infections have surged in the country, rising from 200 reported cases in June to nearly 41,600.