Peace talks between rival Libyan sides resume in Geneva

Talks continued with participants from a range of groups and representatives of civil society

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A new round of peace talks between Libya’s warring factions resumed in Geneva on Monday as the country continued to sink into chaos.

During a first round of U.N.-mediated discussions in the Swiss city earlier this month, warring factions from the strife-torn country agreed on a roadmap to form a unity government.

The U.N.’s envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, had warned as the talks first opened on Jan. 14 that they were a last-ditch effort to prevent all-out chaos.

He warned that Libya was becoming a hotbed of Islamist insurgency, echoing concerns by Libyan officials and world leaders.

The north African nation has been wracked by conflict since the overthrow of dictator Moammer Qadhafi in a 2011 uprising, with rival governments and powerful militias battling for control of key cities and the country’s vast oil riches.

Talks continued Monday with participants from a range of groups and representatives of civil society.

But the Islamist-backed Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) militia alliance, which took over Tripoli last summer, was not officially taking part.

However, it did declare a cease-fire with Libya’s army following the Jan. 15 agreement, and some of the group’s high-level officials from cities beyond the capital, including Misrata, were in Geneva for the negotiations.

Ahead of Monday’s talks, The U.N.’s Libya mission UNSMIL appealed to all sides “to approach these talks ... in a spirit of openness and reconciliation that is guided by the higher national interest of the Libyan people.”

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