France: Rival Libyan leaders meet in Paris to resolve crisis rocking their conflict-ridden country

Paris, France (PANA) - Determined to bring back peace to their fatherland, Libya's UN-backed Prime Minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, and Gen. Khalifa Haftar, the rival military commander who controls the east, began a France-brokered meeting in Paris on Tuesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron is organising the talks with the aim of persuading the two sides to outline a roadmap for an end to a conflict that has plunged the oil-rich country into chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled the long-time regime of Moamer Kadhafi.

This is the second meeting between Sarraj and Haftar in three months after they held talks in Abu Dhabi in May. That meeting made little progress.

Rival armed groups have been fighting to take control of Libya after the fall of Kadhafi.

Sarraj's Government of National Accord (GNA), despite support from the United Nations, has sought to unify powerful factions, but has struggled to assert its authority since it began work in Tripoli in March 2016.

A rival administration based in Libya's remote east - to which Haftar is allied - refuses to recognise the GNA.

Jihadist groups have profited from the turmoil, seizing the Mediterranean coastal city of Benghazi three years ago, although Haftar's forces drove them out earlier this month.

Human traffickers have also exploited the chaos to boost their lucrative but deadly trade, and Libya this year become the main transit camp for migrants seeking to reach Europe.

Since January, more than 100,000 migrants have made the perilous voyage from Libya, with 85,000 arriving on the shores of Italy, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

About 2,360 people have drowned this year attempting to make the journey, the IOM added.

Sarraj this month laid out a new political calendar, scheduling presidential and parliamentary elections for March 2018.
-0- PANA VAO 25July2017

25 july 2017 12:25:38

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