On eve of talks, Libya’s Tripoli authorities undecided on joining

Libyan President Mohammed Magarief

Libyan President Mohammed Magarief

Libya’s Tripoli-based authorities said Wednesday they had not yet decided whether to take part in crucial peace talks, a day before their expected start in Geneva.

The talks, aimed at ending more than a year of violence and political chaos in the North African country, are due to take place in the Swiss city on Thursday and Friday.

The General National Congress (GNC), which is not recognised by the international community, was to meet on Wednesday to decide whether to participate, GNC member Mahmoud Abdelaziz told AFP.

“The GNC will decide whether or not to take part: if yes, how, and if not, what the alternatives would be,” he said.

“The GNC has decided that… participating (in the talks) is important, but we will see what has come of yesterday’s meeting,” he said, referring to talks held in Istanbul with the UN special envoy for Libya, Bernardino Leon.

The Geneva talks are the latest round in long-running UN-brokered peace negotiations between Libya’s rival factions.

The internationally recognised parliament and government, based in Libya’s east, have already been participating in the talks.

The factions agreed in January to set up a national unity government to restore stability shattered since the 2011 revolution that overthrew longtime ruler Moamer Kadhafi.

But negotiations on details and over posts have run into hurdles.

The UN had hoped that the talks would lead to an agreement being signed by September 20, with its implementation to start around October 20.

The agreement, so far rejected by the GNC, aims to form a national unity government for a two-year transition period to end with parliamentary elections.

The internationally recognised parliament on Tuesday adopted a list of candidates for the new administration, the press agency loyal to it reported Wednesday.

The 12 candidates include one woman and former foreign minister Abdulrahman Shalgham, it said.

At a press conference after the Istanbul meeting on Tuesday evening, UN envoy Leon said that he had urged GNC representatives to move forward.

“I encouraged the GNC members… to continue to try to find a solution as soon as possible,” he said. “We have little time and we have to expedite the final solution.”

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