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  • Libyan Prime Minister Serraj addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York

    Libyan Prime Minister Serraj addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 February 2019

The U.N. has sought for almost two years to organize elections as a way of ending eight years of conflict. A proposed date of Dec. 10 came and went date due to lack of progress.

Libya's internationally recognized Prime Minister and the military commander of its breakaway eastern half have met and agreed that national elections are necessary, the U.N. said Thursday.

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Wednesday's meeting in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the first to be confirmed between Fayez al-Serraj and commander Khalifa Haftar since November, when they came face to face in Palermo, Sicily.

They agreed "on the need to end the transitional stages in Libya through holding general elections," the U.N. Libya mission (UNSMIL) said in a Tweet.

"They also agreed on ways to maintain stability in the country and unify its institutions."

The UAE has emerged as major player in the oil producing-country, whose economy and political institutions have been in turmoil since a NATO-US coalition ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi in a 2011 coup.

The U.N. has sought for almost two years to organize elections as a way of ending eight years of conflict. A proposed date of Dec. 10 came and went date due to lack of progress in resolving differences between the heavily divided nation's rival powers.

Serraj's spokesman confirmed a meeting with Haftar had taken place but said no date for elections had been set. There was no immediate comment from the commander's office.

Serraj heads Libya's internationally recognized government in the capital Tripoli while Haftar is based in the east and allied to a parallel administration.

The U.N. gave no further details about the Abu Dhabi meeting. Normally, after similar encounters it puts together,  it often releases pictures showing hand shakes between the participants, but made no such picture available Thursday.

The U.N. Tweet made no mention of a UNSMIL plan to a national conference to decide on the type of elections, an idea which has met resistance in the east where many see it as waste of time.

Haftar's forces, the Libyan National Army (LNA), last month started an offensive in southern Libya, capturing the main city in the region and two oil fields.

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