Libya parties reach peace deal without Tripoli government
SKHIRAT (Morocco) - Libyan political parties and members of civil society initialled a UN-proposed peace accord in Morocco on Saturday, despite the absence of a rival parliament not recognised by the international community.
The new version of a UN-brokered peace deal puts pressure on the Tripoli leadership to sign on and build a unity government in hopes of ending the country's chaos.
The Tripoli government took part in earlier stages of talks but refused to participate in the latest discussions in the Moroccan city of Skhirat.
Members of Libya's internationally recognised parliament and local and regional leaders initialed the agreement, brokered by UN envoy Bernardino Leon.
Negotiators plan to meet again after the Ramadan holiday to work on forming an interim government and finalizing a power-sharing agreement — with or without the Tripoli holdouts.
Libya has been split for nearly a year between an elected parliament in the country's far east and an Islamist-led government backed by militias that seized the capital.
Lacking central authority, the country has seen mounting extremist activity, including by the Islamic State group and al-Qaida-linked militants, and become a haven for migrant trafficking.
Leon said the door remained open for the Tripoli government to join the accord.
Morocco's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Saturday that the main sticking points were over which parties would run which institutions.
Abdul Gader Alhowailly of the Tripoli government said his GNC party met last week and voted against the draft, asking for amendments.
The UN envoy said in a statement that members of militias would be integrated into civilian and military government institutions, and offered job opportunities 'for a decent life according to a clear plan and timetable."
The statement promised the full commitment of international community to ensure it is carried out and that it "brings Libya back to the democratic path."
Many accuse Western countries of contributing to Libya's turmoil by not offering more support after a NATO-led bombing campaign ousted authoritarian leader Moammar Gathafi in 2011, as Arab Spring uprisings swept through the region.