Libyan politicians and activists resumed talks aimed at forming a unity government to end the power struggle between two rival administrations that mediators fear could turn the North African country into a failed state. Libya’s neighbors and Western governments say the talks are the only way to resolve a conflict between the two governments and their armed forces battling for control of the OPEC oil producer where Islamist insurgents have exploited the chaos.
“To not reach an agreement and continue the confrontation is not an option,” U.N. special envoy for Libya, Bernardino Leon, said at the talks in Algiers. “The country is really at its limit.” Tripoli is controlled by Libyan Dawn forces who set up their own unofficial government after taking the capital last year, leaving the internationally recognized government to operate out of the east of the country.
The talks, attended by political parties, activists, and representatives from Libyan regions, are meant to hammer out differences on a draft proposal for a unity government before a broader meeting expected in Morocco next week. At the last talks in Morocco, the rival groups agreed on 80 percent of an accord and negotiators were working on the remaining 20 percent, U.N. officials said. “This should be the final draft because may be this the final opportunity for Libya,” Leon said. “It is a crucial time.”