UN to negotiate with Libyan militias to end clashes

UN to negotiate with Libyan militias to end clashes

Thu Oct 2, 2014 12:39AM GMT

The United Nations is planning to hold talks with the Libyan militias in a bid to convince them to put down arms, says the UN envoy.

“The United Nations will start talking to the militias in order to try and solve the problems provoked by the presence of these militias on the ground,” said Bernardino Leon, the United Nations special representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, on Wednesday.

“The goals will be getting militias out of the main cities as a first step … and of course eventually to reorganize the security in the country with an army. Of course we are very far from that,” he added.

Leon’s negotiation offer is a part of UN-sponsored peace talks between dominant rival groups in Libya which started on Monday in the southern city of Ghadames.

Following the Ghadames negotiations, the Libyan army declared a truce and stopped its military operations “on all fronts,” stated a Libyan military spokesman Colonel Abu Zaid al-Mismari on Wednesday.

Libya has plunged into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled the longtime ruler, Muammar Gaddafi. The ouster of Gaddafi gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions.

The North African country has recently been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militia groups that refuse to lay down arms. The groups are now turning their guns on each other in an attempt to dominate politics and the country’s vast oil resources.

Last month, Leon warned that rapidly deteriorating security and deepening political divisions have brought Libya “closer to the brink of protracted conflict and civil strife.”

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