The Moroccan government announced Wednesday that the duration of the consultative session of Libya's divided House of Representatives has been extended through Saturday.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), an official from the Moroccon government who wished to remain anonymous said the decision was taken to enable the parties to discuss all the related topics freely.
The meeting started Tuesday in Tangier with the participation of Libya's parliamentarians, who are divided between the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli, and the self-acclaimed rival authorities based in the east and allied with putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar. It was initially expected to last for two days and end Wednesday.
Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said during a speech Tuesday at the meeting that one aim of these talks is to break the ice within the Libyan parliament and determine a date for a meeting in Libya.
He added that another aim is to form a consensus on the direction of the decisions taken in the political dialogue meetings.
Bourita announced that 110 members of the House of Representatives participated in the session on its first day and they expect the number to increase to 120.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said Tuesday on Twitter that the meeting of “such a diverse range of parliamentarians” was a positive and welcome step.
“We hope the HoR will fulfill the Libyan people's expectations for implementation of the roadmap agreed upon by the LPDF (Libyan Political Dialogue Forum) towards the holding of national elections on December 24, 2020,” it added.
Libya’s rival sides began the second round of talks Monday on a mechanism to choose a transitional government that would lead the conflict-stricken country to national elections next year.
U.N. acting envoy for Libya Stephanie Williams headed the LPDF's online meeting a week after the first round of the talks in Tunisia failed to name an executive authority.
The 75-member forum reached an agreement to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on Dec. 24, 2021, as a result of the talks in Tunis. They also agreed to name a volunteer legal committee to work on the “constitutional basis for the election.”
“You made significant steps forward and raised the Libyan people’s hopes and expectations for the holding of national elections. There is much work left to be done to alleviate the suffering of Libyans,” Williams told the participants.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a meeting Tuesday in Moscow with Aguila Saleh, the president of the House of Representatives in eastern Tobruk, the Russian foreign ministry announced.
Ahead of the meeting, Lavrov highlighted the fact that a sustainable cease-fire has been established in Libya.
“Although there are still some issues to be solved, the (peace) process continues and gradually gains momentum,” he said.
Lavrov added that Russia will do its best to make Saleh's initiatives in Libya real.
Saleh previously declared Haftar a marshall and supported the putschist general's armed attacks with the purpose of capturing Tripoli. It was also claimed that, despite the decision to hold elections next year, the peace process is being stalled due to Saleh's insistence on heading the Presidential Council, which will act as an interim president during the transition process.
Libya, the country with Africa's largest proven crude oil reserves, has been wracked by conflict for nearly a decade, since the overthrow and killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.
Russia has been one of the main backers of Haftar in Libya since the beginning of the war.
Foreign mercenaries and arms have poured into the country since Haftar launched his offensive, with Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) the putschist general's top suppliers.
The Russian Wagner Group, which is owned by businessperson Yevgeny Prigozhin, a figure close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, sent mercenaries to fight in Libya.
Russia had also been trying to recruit fighters from various Arab tribes in the terrorist YPG-held Hassakeh province of Syria to fight in Libya. A similar transfer of some 600 mercenaries from Syria's Homs province took place earlier.