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UN comes to Berlin for Libya peace talks

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UN comes to Berlin for Libya peace talks
A tank belonging to one militia engages rivals during a battle near Bir al-Ganham, Libya, in March 2015. Photo: DPA
16:43 CEST+02:00
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will welcome participants in the Libya peace process to Berlin on Wednesday for a first meeting of warring factions with EU and UN representatives.

The meeting at the Foreign Ministry will see the 23 Libyan participants in the peace process around a table with representatives of the five members of the United Nations Security Council and representatives from Italy, Spain and the European Union.

The 23 Libyan delegates represent four different alliances which are currently struggling for power in the north African country.

Peace talks have been going on between the groups since January in Morocco, but this will be the first time that the delegations meet with representatives of the Security Council and the major European powers.

Steinmeier will chair the meeting along with the UN's special envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon, who presented the warring factions with a draft proposal for the formation of a unity government on Tuesday.

The proposal presented during talks in Morocco centred on the disarmament of militias and the terms of a truce between the two governments which claim authority over the state, reports the BBC.

The plan calls for the creation of a unity government in the war-torn north African state, where a low-level civil war has been rumbling on since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Isis has recently managed to gain a foothold in the oil-rich state, leading some commentators to believe that the other militias have reason to find consensus among themselves.

The talks also take place as Europe struggles to cope with a surge of refugees entering the south of the continent through Libya.

Spiegel reported on Tuesday that already in 2015 around 54,000 people have attempted the perilous crossing from the north Libyan coast into Italy.

EU member states have contemplated dealing with the problem by attacking people smuggling networks in Libya, but have so far struggled to gain the consent of the government in Tripoli.

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