Libya’s warring factions agree on plan to hold elections within 18 months

Libyans agreed in UN-led talks on Wednesday a plan to hold elections within 18 months.

Delegates from across Libya “reached a preliminary roadmap for ending the transitional period and organising free, fair, inclusive and credible presidential and parliamentary elections,” interim UN envoy Stephanie Williams told journalists.

The talks in Tunisia aim to create a framework and a temporary government to prepare for elections as well as providing services in a country devastated by years of civil war.

The fighting started in 2011 following the NATO-backed toppling of longtime leader Moammar Kadhafi.

Williams stressed the need to move quickly to “national elections which must be transparent and based on full respect for freedom of expression and assembly.”

The UN selected the 75 invitees to the political talks to represent existing institutions and the diversity of Libyan society.

However, after years of chaos and warfare in Libya, with key institutions held by rival factions riven by political, regional and ideological divisions, and foreign powers pouring in arms, many Libyans remain skeptical of peacemaking efforts.

The Tunis talks, which began on Monday, follow a ceasefire agreed last month between the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) led in Tripoli by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and military strongman Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA).

Story compiled from wire reports.