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High hopes for Libya talks in Rome

Delegates from Libya, the UN, and other global powers have gathered in Italy to broker a deal for a unity government. Rival factions have already tentatively agreed to a truce in order to fight 'IS' terrorists.

Delegates from Libya's rival factions met in Rome on Sunday in a fresh diplomatic push to end years of turmoil and form a unity government. Led by the US and Italy, the summit hopes to see the two opposing governments

sign a truce by December 16.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier were among the foreign ministers joining the United Nations and representatives from both the elected and Islamist Libyan governments taking part in the meeting.

With "Islamic State" (IS) digging itself ever further into Libyan territory - terrorists have taken over the Mediterranean city of Sirte, as well as killing 21 Egyptian Christian migrant workers amidst myriad other attacks - the need to end four years of instability has taken on increased urgency.

"We must show that governments can act faster and more effectively than the terrorist threat," said Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

The UN-authored agreement would see a new government with a bicameral legislature established in Tripoli, a government which would be in a position to ask for international assistance to fight IS.

After the ouster of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the differences between various groups of anti-Gaddafi rebels left cracks in the new government in Tripoli. The internationally recognized and democratically elected House of Representatives was force to flee to the city of Tobruk last year after a coup by Islamists. The two groups have been in nearly constant conflict ever since, compounded by the presence of IS in the country.

The level of hope was high for the one-day meeting, as both sides have tentatively agreed to the UN proposal.

es/ls (dpa, Reuters)

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