Plans for Meeting of Two Libyan Governments Failed, Malta Says

  • Tripoli administration arrived, Tobruk delegation canceled
  • Malta meeting collapsed a day before peace conference in Rome

Malta said plans to hold a meeting between Libya’s two feuding governments fell through as one decided not to join the talks on the Mediterranean island a day before a scheduled peace conference in Rome.

The two administrations expressed an interest late Friday in having the heads of their parliaments meet Saturday in Malta, according to a statement from Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s office. Malta agreed to provide logistical support and, while a delegation led by Tripoli General National Congress President Nouri Abusahmein landed late Saturday, the delegation from Tobruk canceled their participation, Muscat’s office said.

Four years after former leader Muammar Qaddafi was forced from power and killed, Libya has two rival parliaments, each claiming to be the nation’s legitimate authority. The internationally recognized House of Representatives is based in Tobruk, in the east, while the competing chamber, the General National Congress, is based in Tripoli. A United Nations-brokered attempt at halting Libya’s violent fracturing collapsed in October. There are now two parallel peace efforts, one backed by the UN and an internal proposal.

Diplomats including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are to meet Sunday in Rome to discuss facilitating the formation of a government of national unity in Libya. An agreement on Libya may be signed soon, European Union foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini said Saturday in the Italian capital.

The political uncertainty is delaying a revival in oil output, which has tumbled. Production dropped below 400,000 barrels a day after the government in the east closed a Zueitina port run by the administration in the west, a spokesman for the National Oil Corp. in Tripoli said last month. Output capacity is 1.6 million barrels, according to the company.

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