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U.N. opens Libya peace talks in Tunis with eye on elections

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The United Nations opened talks on Libya’s future in Tunisia on Monday aimed at ending nearly a decade of chaos and bloodshed by arranging elections, but obstacles remain despite progress in cementing last month’s ceasefire.

Acting U.N. Libya envoy Stephanie Williams has described it as the best opportunity in six years to end the turmoil and warfare that have plagued the North African oil exporting country since 2011.

But she warned at Monday’s opening ceremony attended by Tunisian President Kais Saied: “The road will not be paved with roses and it will not be easy.”

The talks, held among 75 participants chosen by the United Nations to represent an array of political viewpoints, regional interests and social groups, come as the main warring sides discuss how to implement a truce they agreed in Geneva.

Libya has been split since 2014 between rival factions in the west, held by the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), and the east, home to Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

However, both sides are made up of sometimes unstable coalitions with their own interests, and contain figures who might seek to sabotage any agreement they regard as a threat.

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