Libya dialogue restarts without Tripoli representatives

AP News
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Posted: Aug 27, 2015 11:34 AM

SKHIRAT, Morocco (AP) — The United Nations announced Thursday the restarting of talks to form a unity government in Libya, even while admitting that the key Tripoli faction had not shown up.

Seven months of negotiations to end Libya's turmoil has produced five drafts of a unity government agreement backed by every faction except for the Tripoli-based delegation, which has refused to initial it.

The latest round of talks in Morocco was meant to resolve the differences between the internationally-recognized government based in eastern Libya and the Tripoli faction.

For more than a year, Libya has been wracked by warring militias and rival governments, choking off oil revenues and allowed the radical Islamic State group to gain a foothold.

In speech before the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, U.N. representative Bernardino Leon painted a grim picture of a country running out of money with nearly 500,000 displaced people, a grinding military stalemate in Benghazi and a health care system on the verge of collapse.

The U.N. statement Thursday said the Tripoli government, a coalition of Islamist militias, needed to reorganize their negotiating team after key members resigned.

Radical militias pledging allegiance to the extremist Islamic State group control territory in central Libya and are blamed for training militants to attack neighboring Tunisia.

Leon has said he hopes to have the deal for a unity government approved by mid-September.

Leon's mandate ends in September, while that of the internationally-recognized elected parliament in eastern Libya ends in October.