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Libyan Rivals Agree on Election Terms

FILE: The head of Libya's Government of National Unity, Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah meets with with the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland in Tripoli, Libya June 28, 2022. Media Office of the Prime Minister/Handout via REUTERS

BOUZNIKA, MORROCCO - Envoys of rival Libyan factions have agreed on the legal steps to hold much delayed presidential and legislative elections in the conflict-scarred nation, both sides said on Wednesday.

"The members... have agreed the laws for presidential and legislative elections," Jalal Chouehdi, who represents the east-based parliament, told reporters in the southern Moroccan city of Bouznika.

"All that is left is for parliament to ratify" the texts of the accord, added Omar Boulifa, representative for the High State Council (HSC) aligned with the Tripoli-based administration.

Morocco's Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said the agreements would be signed "in the coming days" by Aguila Saleh, speaker of Libya's east-based parliament, and Khaled al-Mechri who heads the HSC.

The country remains split between a nominally interim government in Tripoli in the west, and another in the east backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Presidential and legislative elections have been repeatedly delayed over issues including their legal basis and the participation of controversial candidates including Haftar.

The talks in Bouznika, the latest attempt by both sides to reach a deal, had been underway since May 22.

Elections were due to be held in December 2021 but were never organized as differences persisted on key issues including who should run in the polls.

Libya has been torn by more than a decade of stop-start conflict since a 2011 revolt toppled strongman Moammar Kadhafi, with a myriad of militias forming opposing alliances backed by foreign powers.