Libya’s rival leaders agreed to hold parliamentary and presidential elections on December 10 following a meeting in Paris.
Representatives from 20 countries – including Libya’s neighbours, regional and European powers, the United States and international organisations – were at meetings at the Elysee Palace on Tuesday.
“The parties have committed to set the constitutional basis for elections and adopt the necessary electoral laws by September 16, 2018, and hold parliamentary and presidential elections on December 10, 2018,” said a joint statement.
Taher al-Sonni, an adviser to Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, said in a tweet that four parties gathered at the talks also agreed on “finalising a constitutional base for elections” by September 16.
Libya splintered following the 2011 NATO-backed revolt that toppled Muammar Gaddafi. Since 2014 the North African nation has been divided into competing political and military factions based in Tripoli and the east.
The United Nations is leading an effort to reunify the oil-rich country and to organise national elections.
Libya’s rival factions to meet in Paris to end political deadlock
The Paris meeting, which included eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar, Tripoli Prime Minister Sarraj, and leaders of rival parliamentary assemblies, aimed to urge them to agree to general principles for ending Libya’s crisis and moving towards elections.
“Positive that all Libya parties present at Paris conference agreed [to a] timeline leading to elections in December,” Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said from inside the meeting. “Let us hope, and help them in keeping this important commitment.
Libya is split between rival governments in the east and west, each backed by an array of armed groups.
Representatives of Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, which have backed Haftar and the rival administration in Tobruk in the east, also attended.
France is trying to play peacemaker in a country where years of efforts by the United Nations and former colonial power Italy have failed to bring stability.
French President Emmanuel Macron brought the two rival Libyan leaders Sarraj and Haftar together at a meeting near Paris last July. They committed themselves to working toward presidential and parliamentary elections.
The International Crisis Group warned the Paris conference might unintentionally undermine the UN-led peace process.
“French organisers should avoid imposing too rigid a framework,” the group said in a statement on Monday.