UN says it will hold an all-party conference on Libya

The national conference aims to fix dates for legislative and presidential elections
Ghassan Salame, UN special envoy for Libya and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), delivers a speech at the mission headquarters in the capital Tripoli on March 20, 2019. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

The United Nations said Wednesday it will organise an all-party conference next month to draw up a “roadmap” to lead Libya out of the chaos in which it has plunged since a 2011 revolution.

The national conference aims to fix dates for legislative and presidential elections in the North African state, which has been torn apart by military, political and tribal feuds since the NATO-backed uprising that ousted longtime ruler Moamer Kadhafi.

“We will invite all Libya’s political categories, without exception,” UN envoy Ghassan Salame told a news conference in Tripoli.

He said between 120 and 150 delegates were expected to participate in the forum in the central city of Ghadames on April 14-16, which has been agreed following consultations and meetings in 57 towns across the country.

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The conference will also try to reach decisions on a new constitution and set target dates for legislative texts, which have been delayed by Libya’s two rival administrations.

The UN’s Libya mission UNSMIL said the country’s unity government leader Fayez al-Sarraj and military strongman Khalifa Haftar agreed at a meeting in Abu Dhabi last month “on the need to end the transitional phase through general elections”.

Sarraj’s Government of National Accord, based in Tripoli, is rejected by a rival administration in the east of the country that is backed by Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army.

Persistent instability, territorial disputes and political divisions in the oil-rich state have delayed the implementation of a string of past accords to hold elections and unify Libya’s institutions.

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