UN chief welcomes 'significant' Libya accord on elections

United Nations (United States) (AFP) –


United Nations chief Antonio Guterres praised Tuesday an agreement endorsed by Libya's rival leaders to support elections as a "significant and welcome step forward" in the North African country's political transition.

Four powerful players in Libya, including UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and military leader Khalifa Haftar, agreed during a meeting in Paris to work toward holding parliamentary and presidential elections by December 10.

"The declaration is a significant and welcome step forward in Libya's political transition," said a UN statement released hours after the meeting was held.

Also present were Aguila Saleh Issa, the parliament speaker based in the eastern city of Tobruk, and Khalid al-Mishri, head of the High Council of State in Tripoli.

"The meeting recognized the importance of developing a constitutional basis for elections," said the UN statement, adding that the four leaders had agreed to work with the United Nations on a proposal and timeline to adopt a constitution.

The Libyan players "committed to work constructively with the United Nations to realize parliamentary and presidential elections in a secure environment by 10 December 2018 at the latest and to respect the results of the election."

A UN conference will be held to follow up on the Paris meeting, the statement said, without specifying a date.

The United Nations has launched a plan to bring stability to Libya through elections this year that are meant to turn the page on years of turmoil since the 2011 ouster of Moamer Kadhafi.

Libya remains divided between the UN-backed government in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east that enjoys support from Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.