TOBRUK, Libya, – Rival governments in eastern and western Libya on Sunday reached the initial phase of an agreement designed to foster elections that would bring about a single ruling entity in the North African country.
The BBC reported the deal, which was made during negotiations in Tunis, must still be endorsed by the internationally-recognized government in Tobruk and the General National Congress in Tripoli.
After former leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011, rebel factions turned against one another, forming competing governments in the east and west of the country.
In January, the GNC and the Tobruk government agreed to a United Nations-backed cease-fire, but several militant groups not aligned with either governing body — including an Islamic State affiliate — did not recognize the deal.
The Tunis agreement is separate from U.N. efforts, but the BBC quoted Martin Kobler, the U.N. special envoy to Libya, as saying it was a good basis for moving forward.
Neither governing body endorsed a previous U.N. power-sharing deal in October.
“If this solution receives real Libyan support — from the people and institutions — we will surely arrive in no more than two weeks or a month to a solution to solve the political crisis,” the BBC quoted the first deputy head of the GNC, Awad Mohammed Abdul-Sadiq, as saying Sunday.
Under the Tunis agreement, both sides would form committees to agree upon a constitution and nominate a standing prime minister until elections could be held.
Representatives of the GNC and the Tobruk government will meet at U.N.-hosted talks in Rome next week.
By Fred Lambert