The United Nation has renewed calls for Libya’s warring factions to resume peace talks “before it is too late” following a meeting between the UN envoy to the country and the rival groups.
UN special envoy to Libya Emissary Bernardino Leon was cited as saying in a Friday statement by the world body that “time was running out” to tackle the political and security crises in in the country, which has been the scene of clashes between government forces and rival militia groups that refuse to lay down arms.
Leon made the comments a day after he held talks for the first time with General Khalifa Hafter, the head of forces loyal to the country’s internationally recognized government, and the commanders of anti-government militants in the capital, Tripoli.
“Libyans need to unite and work toward solving their differences if they want to save their country,” Leon added as cited in the UN statement.
The statement comes after the UN postponed a meeting between its envoy and Libyan factions that was scheduled for January 5, citing security concerns.
Haftar launched offensive against the so-called Fajr Libya militiamen in control of Libya’s second largest city of Benghazi in May.
He was initially accused by Libya’s internationally-recognized government of engaging in an anti-state coup, but relations have since improved as Haftar’s forces and government troops are jointly battling militias.
The North African state plunged into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. The ouster of Gaddafi gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions.