Libya’s two main rival factions restarted U.N.-backed peace talks in Morocco on Friday with negotiations at a crucial stage over a power-sharing proposal that negotiators call the best chance for peace.
Four years after an uprising ousted strongman Muammar Gaddafi, Western and regional powers are pushing for an end to fighting between the two competing governments vying for control of the North African country and its oil.
Nearly three weeks after U.N. envoy Bernardino Leon handed them a final draft, negotiating teams were in Morocco to hammer out amendments, even as hardliners on the ground kept fighting for a military victory.
European governments are concerned Libya is becoming a haven for Islamist militants and people smugglers.
The conflict is being fought on several fronts, complicated by Islamic State militants who gained influence in the chaos, but local ceasefires have also emerged that may ease tensions.
“We are getting closer to a solution. Obviously, the fact that all the participants in the dialogue have accepted the fourth draft as a basis for a final solution is extremely encouraging,” Leon said as delegates arrived late Thursday.
The conflict has become polarized around two loose coalitions and their allied armed forces of former rebels who once fought Gaddafi but have turned on each other.
A self-declared National Sovereignty government backed by an alliance of former rebels mainly for the city of Misrata, and more Islamist-leaning fighters, took over the capital last summer.
To the east, Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni’s internationally recognized government and the elected House of Representatives is backed by a loose alliance of military forces under the banner of the Libya National Army.