A political dialogue, arranged by the United Nations (UN) and involving Libya’s clashing factions, has made progress towards a transitional government to oversee the run-up to December’s elections, the organisation said on Saturday.
Participants in the Geneva talks have agreed on a mechanism for choosing the new government, whose formation has been the subject of wrangling among the main factions in the major oil producing country.
Acting UN Libya envoy Stephanie Williams said the agreement represented the “best possible compromise” on the issue, and could lead to the selection of a transitional government “in several weeks”.
However, she also warned that there would still be “people seeking to obstruct” peace-making efforts.
The talks are part of a wider peace process, which also involves a military ceasefire and an economic track, and follows years of chaos and warfare in the country.
Since 2014, Libya has been split between rival factions in Tripoli in the west, and Benghazi in the east.
The internationally recognised, Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) is backed by Turkey, while Commander Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) is supported by the UAE, Russia and Egypt.
However, both sides themselves represent sometimes unstable coalitions of different political, regional, and armed factions.
The latest push towards peace began after the GNA pushed back a 14-month LNA assault on the Libyan capital, Tripoli, in June. A ceasefire was agreed in Geneva in October.
In November, the UN invited 75 Libyans to join a political dialogue in Tunis, which aimed to set presidential and parliamentary elections for 24 December of this year. The dialogue also agreed on the need for a new, unified transitional government.
The transitional government will be responsible for preparing for the elections, combating corruption, and restoring public services across Libya, Williams said.
However, November’s Tunis meeting stalled when the delegates started discussing the make-up of the new government. Saturday’s agreement was made by a smaller committee drawn from the participants.
All 75 members of the dialogue will vote next week on the mechanism the Geneva committee agreed on Saturday.