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UN seeks 'right conditions' for Libya conference

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United Nations (United States) (AFP)

The United Nations is planning to organize a national conference in Libya in the coming weeks to pave the way for elections in the strife-torn north African country, a UN envoy said Friday.

Ghassan Salame did not announce a date or venue for the conference and stressed the meeting must be held "under the right conditions, with the right people" capable of producing an outcome that will be accepted by the majority of Libyans.

Addressing the Security Council by video-conference from Tripoli, Salame said a "key outcome of the national conference must be to spell out the electoral path ahead."

Elections in Libya are meant to turn the page on years of chaos following the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi that has seen a bitter rivalry emerge between two governments scrambling for control in the oil-rich north African country.

The United Nations supports the government in Tripoli but is working toward holding elections, possibly this year, to unite the country.

A French-backed plan for a vote last December fell apart when the United States, Russia and other powers at the Security Council refused to endorse the timetable.

Salame said the national conference would be aimed at building support for holding credible elections.

"Fundamentally, there must be genuine political support for whatever election is conducted and guarantees that the results will be accepted and respected by all," he said.

Salame addressed the council following a visit to volatile southern Libya -- the first trip by a UN envoy to that region since 2012.

The United Nations will re-open an office in the eastern city of Benghazi at the end of this month and plans to establish a presence in southern Libya this year.

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