Libyan Factions to Resume Talks

Libyan Factions to Resume TalksLibyan Factions to Resume Talks

Libya’s warring factions will resume UN-sponsored talks on Tuesday inside the country to try to resolve a struggle between two governments and parliaments, officials from both sides said on Saturday.

The news came as new clashes between pro-government forces and Islamists in the eastern Benghazi city killed seven soldiers, bringing the death toll of four months of fighting there to almost 700, medics said, Reuters reported.

Libya has been in chaos since a revolt ousted Muammar Gaddafi nearly four years ago. Two rival governments allied to armed groups are fighting for legitimacy in a conflict that western powers fear might lead to full-scale civil war in the oil-producing nation.

Libya’s internationally recognized government under Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni and its elected house of representatives are based in the east of the country after a group called Libya Dawn seized Tripoli last summer, set up its own administration and reinstated the old parliament.

Last month, the UN managed to bring some members of the factions to talks in Geneva but the Tripoli-based parliament known as General National Congress (GNC) wanted the dialogue to take place inside Libya.

GNC member Abdul-Qader Hwaili confirmed the date, but declined to disclose the venue.

Last week, UN special envoy Bernadino Leon said during a visit to Tripoli that the talks would restart within days. A first UN-sponsored round of talks in the southern city of Ghadames was held in September but made no progress.

The UN is hoping to get both sides to agree on a national unity government. It plans to arrange local ceasefires and prisoner exchanges as a first step to defuse the conflict.