UN envoy in Libya to reformulate 2015 political deal


UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame has arrived in capital Tripoli to take part in talks aimed at modifying a landmark 2015 agreement between the country's main political factions.

In a Tuesday tweet, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) announced that Salame was slated to meet with both Fayez Sarraj, head of Libya's Presidential Council, and Abdulrahman Asswehly, head of Libya's High Council of State.

The UN mission did not provide any additional details.

Last Tuesday, Tunisia began hosting a first round of talks aimed at amending the 2015 Skhirat agreement.

Signed in the Moroccan city of Skhirat -- under UN supervision -- by Libya's main political factions in late 2015, the deal gave rise to Libya's current UN-backed national unity government (of which Sarraj's Presidential Council is a component).

On Sept. 20, on the sidelines of last month's UN General Assembly meeting in New York, Salame presented a "roadmap" for bringing stability to the war-torn North African country.

The UN envoy's plan consists of three stages: the amendment of the Skhirat agreement; holding a national dialogue between Libya's disparate political factions; and -- after one year -- the holding of a popular referendum on the adoption of a new constitution under which a new president and parliament can be elected.

On Dec. 17, 2015, Libya's main political factions signed the UN-backed agreement in Morocco in hopes of ending a years-long political crisis that began following the death of longstanding Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Gaddafi's departure in 2011 badly destabilized Libya, leading to acute political wrangling -- often leading to violence -- and a plethora of heavily-armed militia groups.

The 2015 political deal led to the formation of the UN-backed unity government and the extension of the mandate of Libya's House of Representatives, a legislative assembly based in the eastern city of Tobruk.

One year after its signing, however, the Tobruk-based assembly disowned the Skhirat agreement and demanded that the deal be reformulated.

According to political groups based in eastern Libya, the 2015 agreement's mandate has expired -- an assertion rejected by the UN.

Salame was appointed to head up UNSMIL on June 22, replacing the UN's previous Libya envoy, Martin Kobler.

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