February 2, 2015 / 8:17 PM / 3 years ago

U.N. says peace talks to start in Libya within next few days

U.N. Special Representative Bernardino Leon speaks at the General National Congress (GNC) headquarters in Tripoli February 2, 2015.Ismail Zitouny

TRIPOLI, (Reuters) - Peace talks between Libya's warring factions and the two governments they back will start within days, a U.N. special envoy said on Monday, after efforts to bring together senior representatives from both sides in Geneva failed last month.

Libya has been in chaos since a NATO-backed revolt ousted Muammar Gaddafi nearly four years ago and its rival governments are kept in power by armed groups which Western powers fear are dragging the country into full-scale civil war.

Last month, the U.N. managed to bring some members of the factions to talks in Geneva but the Tripoli-based parliament known as GNC wanted the dialogue to take place inside Libya.

"It has been agreed to hold the next round of the peace talks in Libya within days," U.N. Special Envoy Bernadino Leon told reporters after meeting GNC officials in Tripoli.

Nouri Abusahmain (R), head of Libya's General National Congress (GNC), meets with U.N. Special Representative Bernardino Leon at the GNC headquarters in Tripoli February 2, 2015.Ismail Zitouny

He gave no venue or exact date.

Leon said the world body would talk first to military leaders to arrange a ceasefire before talks could start.

The first U.N.-sponsored round of talks in the southern city of Ghadames were in September and made no progress.

Libya's internationally recognised government under Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni and its elected House of Representatives are based in the east of the country after a group called Libya Dawn seized Tripoli last summer, set up its own administration and reinstated the old parliament.

A partial ceasefire declared last month has largely held in several parts of the oil-producing desert nation.

Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Louise Ireland

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