AFP.com/ New Libya peace talks planned for January 5: UN envoy

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SHAFAQNA – A new round of peace talks aiming to end the fighting in Libya will be held on January 5 after the warring factions appear to have agreed a path forward, UN diplomats said Tuesday.

Chad’s envoy to the UN, Mahamat Zene Cherif, whose country holds the Council’s rotating presidency this month, said after closed-door discussions that the roadmap contained three points.

He did not outline details, but said one element was “a national unity government which would be composed of representatives from the two camps.”

Another UN Security Council diplomat said the plan also set out a ceasefire as well as a withdrawal of all militias and the disarmament of the warring sides.

UN special envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, voiced his “deep concern” over the deteriorating situation in the north African country in a video address to the meeting.

He called for “an immediate ceasefire” and for all sides “to commit to a dialogue,” Charif said.

The Council also voiced concern about the amount of weapons flooding into the country despite the embargo imposed on Libya, and gave their full backing to Leon’s peace bid.

More than three years after dictator Moamer Kadhafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 NATO-backed revolt, the country is awash with weapons and powerful militias, and has rival governments and parliaments.

Fierce clashes persist in the second city Benghazi and west of the capital Tripoli between forces loyal to the internationally recognized government and a rebel group of mainly Islamist militias.

A first round of talks was held in September, but ended with no result. More talks had been planned for this month, but were repeatedly postponed.

The UN human rights office said Tuesday that recent fighting has killed hundreds of civilians and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

“Violations are continuing with impunity. There has been no effort to stop them,” Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the UN human rights agency, told reporters in Geneva.

She warned that many of the abuses being committed across Libya “may amount to war crimes.”

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