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U.N. urges Libyan factions to agree unity government by month's end
The United Nations special envoy to Libya called on the country's warring parties on Tuesday to agree on a national unity government by the end of August.
Libya is split between two governments backed by armed factions fighting for control. Libya Dawn, an alliance of local militias, drove the internationally recognized government out of the capital, Tripoli, and declared its own government a year ago, leaving the oil-rich country on the verge of anarchy.
"Libya is facing deep chaos and division of the country. So I hope that all the Libyan actors will be wise ... ," the U.N.'s Bernardino Leon, who opened two days of talks in Geneva, told a news briefing.
"It is extremely risky to reach October without an agreement because we will be in a more chaotic situation. This is why it is important to have this time-line."
The input of armed groups on security arrangements was important, Leon said, but was lagging behind the political process.
"We will work in coming days on the basis of timetable which necessarily has to be short. Libya is facing huge challenges," Leon said. "We are proposing the parties to work on the coming three weeks and to try to have agreement on the important two points, by the end of August."
Some Libyan factions signed an initial U.N.-sponsored agreement in Morocco on July 12 to form a unity government and end fighting. A key player from the parliament in Tripoli, the General National Congress, stayed away then, but the GNC is taking part in the Geneva talks, expected to last through Wednesday and possibly Thursday.
The U.N. proposal 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 Geneva talks focus on five annexes to the pact and the unity government, Leon said.
"We would like the GNC and all of the Libyans who are participating in the process to give the benefit of the doubt to this process," he said. "We have not finished this process and we have a lot of people already talking `what if it is a failure'."
[Source: Reuters, Geneva, 11Aug15]
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