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War-Torn Libya’s Rivals Agree Path to Elections in 18 Months

Mohammed Abdusamee
·1 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Libya’s rival factions reached a preliminary agreement on a road map to establish a unified government and hold elections within 18 months, a deal that if finalized would end almost a decade of conflict in the OPEC member.

The plan was announced by the United Nations acting envoy to Libya, Stephanie Williams, on the third day of talks between the internationally recognized government in Tripoli and its eastern rival. Discussions are continuing.

The multi-track negotiations have fueled hopes of an end to a civil war in which Turkey has backed the Tripoli-based government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russian mercenaries have supported eastern military leader Khalifa Haftar.

Earlier peace efforts have foundered amid mutual recriminations. Military representatives of both sides are also meeting this week in the central coastal city of Sirte, the dividing line between the two forces, for concurrent talks. The joint military commission will announce its progress at a press briefing on Thursday evening, Williams said.

Fighting has wracked Libya since a NATO-backed revolt ousted longtime leader Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011 and later led to the establishment of dueling administrations.

The unrest has crippled Libya’s all-important oil industry, which on Monday reached an output milestone of more than 1 million barrels a day after a blockade starting in early 2020 had all but shut down production.

Libya is home to Africa’s largest crude reserves.

(Updates with scheduled military commission briefing in fourth paragraph)

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