Libya rivals still long way from deal: envoy

21st March 2015, Comments 0 comments

The UN's Libya envoy has warned an agreement between the strife-torn country's rival political factions is still a way off, in remarks published Saturday after the launch of crunch talks.

Libya has been wracked by violence since the NATO-backed uprising that toppled longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, with rival militias and administrations battling for power.

Three days of UN-mediated talks that began on Friday are aimed at reaching an agreement to form a national unity government.

"An agreement is going to be difficult, we are still a long way off," UN special envoy Bernardino Leon told the Spanish newspaper El Pais from Morocco.

As the talks got under way in Morocco, the internationally recognised government said loyalist forces had launched an offensive to "liberate" Tripoli, seized by Islamist-backed militia last summer.

"We think this activity is linked to the negotiations," Leon was quoted as saying.

"In both camps, there are the hardliners and the moderates," he said. "The moderates want to reach an agreement, while the hardliners prefer a military solution, they want to impose it on the other party by force."

"The international community can't accept such an outcome.

"What the international community didn't do well after the 2011 intervention is not to stay on the ground. It wasn't about rebuilding a state, it was about building one from scratch," he said.

Leon has said the talks in Morocco would focus on security arrangements, the creation of a national unity government and confidence-building measures.

"By Sunday, we would like to have these three documents ready and if possible, published, as already agreed (as) part of what will be a final package," Leon has said.

© 2015 AFP

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