Libyan leaders commit to December 10 elections

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Four senior Libyan leaders committed at a Paris peace conference Tuesday to holding elections in the fractured and war-wracked country on December 10, a joint statement said.

“The parties have committed to set the constitutional basis for elections and adopt the necessary electoral laws by September 16, 2018, and hold parliamentary and presidential elections on December 10, 2018,” it said.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who hosted the conference, has been pushing the rival Libyans and other representatives from regional powers to agree a political roadmap to stabilize the oil-rich North African state.

The Libyan signatories were Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the UN-backed unity government in Tripoli, and 75-year-old military strongman Khalifa Haftar, whose rival Libyan National Army dominates the country’s east.

Aguila Saleh Issa, the parliament speaker based in the eastern city of Tobruk who opposes the UN-backed administration, as well as Khalid Al-Mishri, the newly-elected head of the High Council of State, also signed the statement after around four hours of talks in Paris.

Posing for a group photo, Macron asked his guests to verbally commit to the agreement -- which they did.

“So we are all working on this common basis, bravo!” he said.

Some diplomats and analysts have voiced doubt whether the country, which is swamped by weapons and controlled by a patchwork of political groups and armed militias, will be able to hold elections.