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Libyan delegations meet for election talks

China Daily | Updated: 2021-01-21 10:04

Mourners console each other at a mass funeral for Libyans who died during the conflict in 2019. The bodies of the victims were exhumed from a grave in Tarhouna on Friday. HAZEM AHMED/REUTERS

TRIPOLI, Libya-The United Nations Support Mission in Libya, or UNSMIL, on Tuesday said the Libyan Constitutional Committee started its second meeting in an Egyptian resort, where members discussed constitutional arrangements for national elections.

The meeting, in the Red Sea city of Hurghada, coincided with a fresh appeal by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for all foreign fighters and mercenaries to leave Libya by Saturday. Their departure was called for in a cease-fire agreement signed on Oct 23 by the warring sides after years of fighting split the oil-rich North African nation in two.

The meeting, attended by delegations from the House of Representatives and the High Council of State, each comprising 10 members, "is convened to discuss the constitutional arrangements necessary for the holding of elections on Dec 24, 2021", the UNSMIL said in a statement.

"If you fail to reach an agreement, this will have very negative repercussions on the other tracks including the security and economic situation," acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Libya Stephanie Williams was quoted as saying in her opening remarks.

"Therefore, you have a great responsibility to reach a consensus on the constitutional arrangements."

The UN mission reaffirmed its support and encouragement for constructive dialogue between the two sides, adding that it looks forward to the outcome of the committee's deliberations by the 60-day deadline.

Political road map

During the first meeting of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, from Nov 7-15 last year in Tunisia's capital Tunis, 75 Libyans representing the country's social and political spectra discussed a political road map to achieve lasting peace, and agreed on the December date for elections.

Guterres also urges the UN-recognized government that holds sway in the capital Tripoli, in western Libya, and the forces of military commander Khalifa Haftar who run most of the east and the south, "to maintain their resolve in reaching a lasting political solution to the conflict, resolving economic issues and alleviating the humanitarian situation".

Libya has been suffering escalating violence since the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

Guterres encouraged the broader international community to support implementation of the ceasefire without delay, including "ensuring the departure of all foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya, and the full and unconditional respect of the Security Council arms embargo" against Libya.

He also urged the Security Council to give the support mission "a clear but flexible mandate" to support a Libyan-led mechanism to monitor implementation of the cease-fire.

Xinhua - Agencies

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