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Libyan Reconciliation Object of Current Egypt Talks

Libya’s warring factions have agreed to exchange prisoners and ease restrictions on travel between the western and eastern portions of the country during talks being held in Hurghada, an Egyptian city on the coast of the Red Sea. Observers from the United Nations say the talks have been conducted in “a spirit of responsibility, transparency and mutual trust.” The UN-backed, Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Fayez al-Sarraj, has been fighting off thrusts by the self-styled Libyan National Army led by Benghazi-based renegade general Khalifa Haftar. The sides have been at odds over control of the country following the 2011 ouster and killing of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Each is backed by international allies, with Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates supporting Haftar, and Turkey lining up behind the GNA by sending troops and Syrian mercenaries credited with having turned the tide against Haftar’s gains. The current talks are seen as a precursor to meetings to be held in Cairo in the first half of October, the goal being to map out a comprehensive peace process to be discussed later in the year in Geneva.