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UN hosts Libya peace talks for national unity govt

The first round of political talks for facilitating the Libyan peace process proposed a national unity government that will be acceptable to all Libyans, the UN said on Wednesday.

Geneva: The first round of political talks for facilitating the Libyan peace process proposed a national unity government that will be acceptable to all Libyans, the UN said on Wednesday.

Ruling out the possibilities of organising referendums or elections, the UN's Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya (SRSGL) Bernardino Leon told reporters after the meeting that it is not possible to facilitate such processes at times of chaos.

United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) plans to hold extensive talks with diverse actors who it is expected would go back and debate with their colleagues in Libya. The talks aim to secure a phased withdrawal of all armed groups from all major towns and cities, including Tripoli. After the first round of talks which is scheduled to end on Friday they would be extended "to include political parties, armed groups, as well as tribal and societal leaders".

The municipalities have an especially important role in the peace process, said the SRSGL. Representatives from the municipalities of Misrata, Tripoli, Gharyan and Sabah, all held by rebel groups, joined in today's talks. Leon said that this was a sign that Libyans did not want to "waste any more time".

This also indicates a growing rift within Libya Dawn, the rebel group that toppled the elected government. The dialogue was described as an "open invitation" especially to the militia to assist the Libyan participants reach common ground saying that their doors will always be open.

Leon described the process to be "long and difficult" especially as the "gap between the parties is becoming more and more complicated".

However, he described the spirit of today's participants as "very positive". "We do not expect people to agree or not to agree but just to talk," he said.

UNSMIL has been in extensive talks with the militia as well. SRSGL said that UNSMIL will officially talk to the militia as early as next week. He described their absence as a pending decision whether to participate in the dialogue or not.

Tripoli-based forces said their legislature had postponed a decision over joining the Geneva talks until Sunday. Omar Hmaidan, spokesman for the Tripoli legislature on Monday said, "We do not reject dialogue, but we believe that the UN rushed to determine the date of the dialogue and its mechanisms".

Leon said that "the talks were guided by the principles of the 17 February Revolution and democratic values and human rights, respect for the Constitutional Declaration, respect for the legitimacy of State institutions - legislative, executive and the judiciary ? and the rejection of terrorism".

Libya has been in turmoil after the 2011 NATO-backed revolt that ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Federalist and splinter militia who fought together against Gaddafi are now fighting each other in a bloody civil war that has claimed thousands of lives.

From Zee News

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