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African leaders seek to clear way for Libyan dialogue

By AFP - Mar 12,2020 - Last updated at Mar 12,2020

OYO, Congo — Three African heads of state, the African Union chief and a senior UN envoy met Thursday in Congo in the latest attempt to broker talks over Libya's crisis.

The meeting is the second in the Congo since a summit in Berlin in January where world leaders agreed to halt foreign interference in Libya and impose an arms embargo.

Tripoli's UN-recognised government is battling eastern commander Khalifa Haftar in the latest factional fighting since the 2011 fall of long-time dictator Muammar Qadhafi.

International efforts to end the conflict have stumbled and Libya's African neighbours have been seeking a wider role in resolving the North African nation's crisis.

At the talks in Oyo town, Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso urged an "unequivocal message" to prepare a conference on national reconcilliation for Libya.

Nguesso was joined by South Africa's Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa, Chadian leader Idriss Deby Itno, AU commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat and Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad.

Algeria’s government has said it would be ready to host a comprehensive dialogue among Libyan parties and joined other African nations in urging an end to foreign interference in Libya.

“It’s time to unite the Libyan people so that they can be reconciled,” Djerad said.

The meeting in Oyo comes in the wake of the resignation of the UN special representative on Libya, Gassane Salame, whose efforts towards a settlement were commended by the African leaders.

His resignation came after months of work to bring a ceasefire since Haftar launched an offensive in April to seize the capital Tripoli.

The unity government in Tripoli is supported by Turkey, while Haftar is backed by UN Security Council permanent member Russia.




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