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UN mission announces resumption of intra-Libyan talks

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has announced the resumption of inclusive intra-Libyan political and military talks.

A statement posted on the UNSMIL's website on Saturday said the goal of the resumed Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) will be "to generate consensus on a unified governance framework and arrangements" that will lead to the holding of early national elections in order to restore Libya's sovereignty and the democratic legitimacy of Libyan institutions, reports Xinhua news agency.

"Participants in the LPDF will be drawn from key Libyan constituencies, based on the principles of inclusivity, fair geographic, ethnic, political, tribal, and social representation, and with a firm commitment to the meaningful participation of Libyan women and youth," the statement said.

UNSMIL confirmed that it will strive to ensure broad consultations, transparency, and a rights-based approach during this "Libyan-led and Libyan-owned" process.

"Responding to the recommendation received from a great majority of Libyan constituencies, UNSMIL has made it a requirement for the participants to the LPDF to recuse themselves from political and sovereign positions in any new executive arrangement and to convene in good faith, with a spirit of cooperation and solidarity in the interest of their nation and to refrain from the use of hate speech and incitement to violence," the statement said.

It also urged a complete stand-down of all military maneuvers and reinforcements to enable an agreement on a lasting ceasefire, including a demilitarized zone in central Libya, as well as to create the space for constructive political discussions.

"The UN calls on all Libyans to take full advantage of this window of opportunity to restore lasting peace, security, prosperity, human rights and accountability for the Libyan people who have endured years of protracted conflict and political fragmentation," it said.

According to the statement, the LPDF will be held according to a hybrid formula through a series of virtual sessions as well as face-to-face meetings, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Amid escalating violence and political division, Libya has been struggling to make a democratic transition ever since the fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi's government in 2011.

The country has since been subject to escalating violence and chaos.

The situation escalated in 2014, splitting power between the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli and the House of Representatives allied with the eastern-based Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar..