August 6, 2015 / 5:58 PM / 2 years ago

U.N. to host Libya talks on Monday in push for unity government

UNITED NATIONS/BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - The United Nations will convene a new round of Libya talks on Monday in Geneva in a push to persuade warring parties to agree on a unity government and end the violence gripping the oil producer, the U.N. said on Thursday.

A member of the Libyan pro-government forces, who are backed by the locals, sits near damaged shipping containers during street clashes with the Shura Council of Libyan Revolutionaries, an alliance of former anti-Gaddafi rebels who have joined forces with the Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia, in Benghazi in this March 16, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Files

There are many challenges to ending Libya’s armed conflict, four years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

Last month, some factions signed an initial U.N.-sponsored deal to form a unity government, but delegates from a parliament controlling the capital Tripoli stayed away.

An armed alliance known as Libya Dawn took over Tripoli and declared its own government and parliament a year ago, driving out the internationally recognized premier.

“Underscoring the significant progress achieved to date ... (U.N. envoy Bernardino) Leon is urging the main parties to redouble their efforts and continue working together towards narrowing existing differences,” Leon’s U.N. mission for Libya said in a statement.

“Leon acknowledges that while some of the parties continue to have reservations about what has been achieved to date, it is important for all parties to continue working on jointly addressing and resolving these concerns,” the statement added.

Some representatives from municipalities in Tripoli and the western city of Misrata allied to Libya Dawn signed the deal.

Under the plan, Libya will get a one-year government of national accord. A council of ministers headed by a prime minister and two deputies would have executive authority. The House of Representatives would be the legislative body, a plan meeting opposition from the GNC.

The factions have yet to agree on details.

Diplomats say both governments face pressure from hardliners who favor a military solution.

On Thursday, the air force of the official Libyan government based in the east attacked a small vessel trying to dock at Derna, a port city controlled by Islamist groups, said air force spokesman Nasser al-Hasi.

“We don’t allow any ship to approach Derna port without permission from the army,” he said. “We had issued warnings.”

There was no immediate word on any casualties.

Derna, east of Benghazi, is an eastern hotpot.

Both Libyan governments are backed by former anti-Gaddafi rebels which control only limited territory. Islamic State militants have exploited the power struggle by increasing their presence in Libya as they did in Syria, Iraq and Egypt.

Reporting by Louis Charbonneau in New York, Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Ayman al-Warfalli in Benghazi; Writing by Louis Charbonneau and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Dan Grebler and Tom Brown

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