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African envoys make Libya ‘conciliation’ trip before December presidential vote

Published: Updated:

Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso, the African Union (AU) pointman on Libya, dispatched a “conciliation” mission to the conflict-ridden North African country on Monday ahead of presidential elections there set for December, official sources said.

The AU mission will cover “information, evaluation but also conciliation on the process ahead of the presidential vote due at the end of the year,” the Republic of Congo’s Foreign Minister Jean-Claude Gakosso told AFP by telephone.

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The delegation will meet senior political players, religious leaders and opinion makers in Tripoli, Benghazi, Tobruk, and Misrata, the minister said.

“We envisage also meeting Libyans in the diaspora in Cairo and Tunis,” where the AU group of a dozen figures arrived on Monday.

They will return to Brazzaville to brief Sassou Nguesso who will attend a Libya summit in France on November 12, the minister added.

Sassou Nguesso met Libyan leader Mohamed al-Menfi in Congo last July to discuss the election arrangements.

The presidential election, and a legislative vote set for January, are intended to help unify Libya after years of conflict and division, but disputes over their legal and constitutional basis have laid bare the extent of the split between the country’s east and west.

Libya fell into the abyss following the 2011 toppling of dictator Muammar Gaddafi and, despite vast oil wealth, many people live in poverty.

Read more: Germany’s FM says Libya’s elections should go forward on December 24