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Libyan factions reach agreement aimed at ending political deadlock

The two rival governing bodies in Libya have announced they have reached an agreement aimed at ending the power standoff which followed Moammar Gadhafi's overthrow. The plan would need approval by both parliaments.

Following weekend talks in Tunisia, the opposing factions announced an initial agreement which aimed to end the country's political conflict had been reached.

The draft was an

alternative to the agreement

on which the UN has been leading mediation for the past year. However, both plans have the broad intention for the country to be controlled by a national unity government.

"This is a historic moment the Libyans were waiting for, the Arabs were waiting for and the world was waiting for," Mohammed Awad Abdul-Sadiq, the first deputy head of the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC) said after the talks with rivals from the internationally recognized House of Representatives.

Under the declaration of principles, the two governments would set up a 10-member committee which would be tasked with naming an interim prime minister and deputies within a fortnight. The agreement would aim for legislative elections within two years, Tunisian news agency TAP reported. Another committee would be set up to revise the Libyan constitution, according to the reports.

Years of political turmoil

The power vacuum in Libya following the overthrow of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 after a NATO-backed uprising led to widespread lawlessness in the North African country. The two governments have been vying to rule and various armed groups have been fighting for control over its vast energy resources.

Amid the chaos, Libya has become a

launching point for people smugglers

sending migrants on often deadly boat journeys across the Mediterranean towards Europe. On Sunday, the Italian coastguard reported more than 4,600 people had been rescued from unseaworthy boats off the Libyan coast between Thursday and Saturday.

Libya has also become a

haven for extremist groups

including the self-proclaimed "Islamic State."

Parallel proposals

It remained unclear whether the latest proposal would indeed pave the way for peace or complicate the situation even further.

In November,

German diplomat Martin Kobler

took up the position of United Nations special envoy for Libya, replacing Bernardino Leon from Spain. In October, Leon had suggested names for a unity government following a year of UN-mediated talks but those suggestions were met with opposition and the negotiations faltered. Kobler has been

uging both sides to support

the deal proposed by his predecessor.

An international conference on Libya is scheduled to be held in Rome on December 13.

se/jlw (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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