Libya’s elected parliament asks U.N. to postpone peace talks

The delay has been requested to allow for time to discuss a road map for the next government (File photo: AP)

Libya’s elected parliament has asked the United Nations to postpone talks intended to end a power struggle for one week to allow more time for discussion of a proposal to form a national unity government, the parliament said on Tuesday.

“We are asking for a one-week delay to discuss a road map for the next government, its competences, timeframe and relationship with the House of Representatives,” parliament spokesman Farraj Hashem said.

The United Nations had planned to host another round of talks on Wednesday between Libya’s rival factions, each of which is backed by its own government and parliament.

Meanwhile an attack by ISIS militants on a Libyan oilfield where they beheaded security guards and kidnapped foreign workers underlines the difficulties facing U.N.-sponsored peace talks due to resume this week.

Libyans have become accustomed to chaos. But last week’s attack on the al-Ghani oilfield in central Libya marks a new departure. The attackers did not seize it to make financial or political demands as armed groups often do.

Instead, they mounted a show of force that appeared in line with warnings that the Islamists are bent on exploiting Libya’s turmoil to extend their influence.

“They came to burn the facilities and kidnap or kill the workers and guards,” said Ali al-Hassi, a spokesman for an oilfield security force. “Then they left.”

The militants have not yet made a statement on the attack but officials have blamed Islamic State, which has in the past boasted of its ability to kill soldiers or civilians in Libya.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45