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Libya conflict

Libya has ‘best opportunity’ for peace in decade, US official says ahead of elections

Published: Updated:

War-torn Libya has its best chance for peace since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, a senior US diplomat said Wednesday, urging rival sides to work together ahead of December elections.

“Libya now faces the best opportunity it has had in a decade, to bring the conflict to closure, to move the economy forward and to lay the foundation for a stable democratic society,” said Department of State Counsellor Derek Chollet during a visit to Tripoli.

“The US will continue to support this vital process,” he told journalists.

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But speaking after meeting top figures in the country’s transitional government including Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah, he warned that “the moment is urgent.”

Chollet’s visit came days after parliament speaker Aguila Saleh, a key backer of eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar, ratified a law governing the upcoming presidential election, sparking anger from MPs and politicians who say he failed to follow due process.

Libya tumbled into chaos following the US and NATO-backed 2011 revolt that toppled and killed Gaddafi, with rival militias and foreign powers fighting for control.

A war between west Libya forces and Haftar came to a formal halt with a UN-backed ceasefire in October last year, and the world body has since been overseeing a complex peace process with elections set for December 24.

But the legal basis for the elections has been the focus of growing tensions between various sides.

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