Libya’s rivals have resumed UN-mediated talks on the election

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CAIRO – Rival Libyan officials resumed talks in the Egyptian capital on Sunday, the latest UN-led effort to agree on a constitutional amendment to hold elections as the North African country finds itself in a political stalemate again.

Abdullah Bleiheg, a spokesman for parliament, said 12 lawmakers from Libya’s east-based parliament and 11 members of the High Council of State, an advisory body in western Libya, had attended the talks in Cairo.

Blehaig did not elaborate. The UN mission in Libya also said talks had resumed at a hotel in Cairo.

The first round of talks, also held in Cairo last month, failed to make any progress in disputing the legal basis for the election, which was one of the main challenges in thwarting the planned national election in December.

The failure to hold a vote is a major blow to international efforts to end a decade of unrest in Libya. It marks the beginning of a new chapter in the long-running political stalemate, with rival governments claiming power after taking temporary steps toward unity last year.

The oil-rich country has been ravaged by conflict since the fall and assassination of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011. The country has for many years been divided between rival administrations in the East and the West, each supported by different militias and foreign governments. .

In February, the country’s pre-emptive House of Representatives nominated a new prime minister, Fathi Bashaagha, to lead a new interim government.

Lawmakers have claimed that Tripoli-based interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dwivedi’s mandate expired when elections failed to go ahead as planned in December.

Dabibah, however, reminded the protesters against his government replacement, insisting that he would only hand over power to the elected administration.

Bashagha has not yet been able to settle in the capital, and his government is being called upon to settle in the important city of Sirte, controlled by the forces of his rival-allied ally, Commander Khalifa Heftar. The city serves as a link between the eastern and western regions of Libya.

The stalemate was exacerbated last week by sporadic clashes between Rouge militias, particularly in the western region, and a partial oil blockade amid a global energy crisis caused by the Russian war in Ukraine.

The closure of oil facilities, including Libya’s largest oil field in the region controlled by Heftar’s forces, was probably meant to deprive the Debibar government of funds and hold its rivals.

Libya’s precious light crude oil has long been a feature of the country’s civil war, with rival militias and foreign powers fighting for control of Africa’s largest oil reserves.

Basagha and his ally, influential parliamentary speaker Aguila Saleh, announced earlier this month that oil facilities would be reopened on the condition that oil revenues be temporarily frozen until rival parties agree on an arrangement to manage such oil funds.

The proposal enjoys the support of the US Embassy in Libya, saying such a process should “include an agreement on priority spending, transparency measures and measures to ensure oversight and accountability.”

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