Libya’s Dbeibeh discusses stalled elections with US diplomat

Libya’s Dbeibeh discusses stalled elections with US diplomat

Oil-rich Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011

By Walid Abdullah

TRIPOLI, Libya (AA) – Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, the head of the Tripoli-based government, on Tuesday discussed the latest political developments in Libya with US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf.

The discussions also dwelt on the importance of rallying local and international efforts for holding the country’s stalled elections, according to a statement issued by Hakomitna, a government platform to communicate with the public.

The US diplomat arrived in Tripoli on Tuesday from the eastern city of Benghazi for talks with Libyan officials on holding the polls.

“The visit came as part of US support for international and local efforts to hold the elections,” the statement said.

Leaf is scheduled to meet later Tuesday with Mohamed Menfi, the chairman of Libya's Presidency Council.

On Monday, the US diplomat held talks with in Benghazi with Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh and Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar on holding the elections.

Last month, the UN envoy to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, unveiled an initiative to hold dialogue between the country’s rivals with a view to breaking the current political stalemate.

The UN initiative aims to hold the Libyan elections this year.

Oil-rich Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011, when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted after four decades in power.

The situation has worsened since last year when the Libyan parliament appointed a new government led by former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, but Dbeibeh said he will cede authority only to a government that comes through an "elected parliament," raising fears that Libya could slip back into a civil war.

*Ikram Kouachi contributed to this report

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