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Rival Libya parties attend UN-sponsored peace talks

11 February 2015 16:46

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Libya’s main rival sides have attended a new round of UN-sponsored peace talks in the southern Libyan town of Ghadames in a bid to end months of chaos in the country.

Delegates from both Libya’s internationally-recognized government and its rival General National Congress (GNC) attended the meeting on Wednesday, United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) announced on Twitter.

UNSMIL head, Bernadino Leon, was also present at the negotiations. The UN had already announced a meeting in Libya would take place this week without disclosing the venue, date or the participants, apparently for security reasons.

The new round of talks came as the previous negotiations in Geneva late last month ended inconclusively. The GNC had boycotted the Geneva meeting, demanding that it be held in Libya.

Libya plunged into chaos following the 2011 uprising against the dictatorship of long-time ruler, Muammar Gaddafi. The ouster of Gaddafi gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions.

The country has two rival governments and parliaments. The Tripoli-based GNC, backed by the Fajr (Dawn) Libya militias, took over the capital in the summer of 2014 and established its own government and parliament.

Libya has been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militia groups that refuse to lay down arms. Rival militias are also battling for control of the country’s cities and oil wealth.

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