Rival Libyan Leaders To Attend International Confab In Italy
Libya’s main power-brokers are set to meet with global leaders in Italy, in the latest bid to jump-start a long-stalled political process to end the civil war and hold national elections. At a summit in May, the internationally-backed Tripoli-based Government of National Accord and strongman Khalifa Haftar, who controls Libya’s eastern oil-rich region, agreed to a vote on December 10. However, the United Nations has poured cold water on the idea, suggesting instead that a conference slated for early 2019 be used to pave the way for a ballot by mid-year. The situation in Libya has remained chaotic since former dictator Moammar Qaddafi was deposed by NATO forces in 2011, with numerous subsequent efforts having failed to forge a political solution. While the GNA and the Haftar-backed House of Representatives remain the most important players in Libya, numerous fighting groups, including the Islamic State, continue to vie for territory. In this respect, over a one-month period spanning late August and September, clashes in the capital killed around 120 people and injured hundreds more. Haftar’s Libyan National Army is supported by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, whereas much of the West has thrown its weight behind the GNA.