Rivals agree to hold UN-sponsored talks in Libya

Geneva, Jan 30 (IANS) Participants of the UN-facilitated Libyan political dialogue have agreed on convening future dialogue sessions in Libya, media reported Thursday.

Representatives of municipal and local councils from a number of towns and cities across Libya gathered in Geneva Wednesday to discuss how to support confidence-building measures agreed to in the earlier rounds of the political dialogue.
According to a Xinhua report, a statement by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said that there was agreement on the principle of convening future dialogue sessions in Libya, provided that logistical and security conditions were available.
The participants called on the UNSMIL to start consultations with the parties regarding the venue of the talks. UNSMIL urged all stakeholders to join the talks in an open and constructive spirit.
The new round of the Libyan political dialogue came after two rounds of dialogue in mid-January and earlier in the week respectively.
Participants in the talks expressed concern about the prevailing security condition in different areas, condemning in particular, Tuesday’s attack in Tripoli that took place as they were meeting in Geneva.
They emphasised that the talks presented a moment of hope and reconciliation for the Libyans, and an opportunity to resolve the country’s political and security crisis that should not be missed.
Meanwhile, Libya’s Islamist-backed parliament, the General National Congress (GNC), announced Thursday that it will participate in the UN-sponsored political dialogue, after the Geneva dialogue participants gave initial consent to hold the talks in Libya.
The UN-sponsored peace talks aim to end the current political crisis through the formation of a united government.
“(The) Congress approves of holding (the) dialogue in any city approved by the parties. However, approval is conditional with stipulations announced earlier, and they consist of accepting the Supreme Court ruling regarding the unconstitutionality of the House of Representatives, and considering the GNC as a legitimate body,” a GNC member said.

The GNC did not participate in the first and second rounds of the Geneva talks. The expired parliament refused to participate without its demands being met.
The second round of the Geneva talks, held two days ago, for the first time resulted in discussions among political parties on details and ideas for the formation of a consensual unified national government to end conflict over political legitimacy in the country.