"Final round" of Libya talks planned for Geneva

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Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Bernardino Léon. Photo: UN/Jean-Marc Ferré

Talks to decide Libya's future are to return to the United Nations in Geneva later this week, the UN mission in the conflict-ravaged country (UNSMIL) has announced.

The development follows recent discussions between Libyan representatives in Morocco where the UN negotiator Bernardino Léon repeated concerns that–as he put it–time was fast running out for Libya.

But it remains unclear whether one of the key parties to the talks, the General National Congress (GNC), will be present at the next round of negotiations in the Swiss city.

Daniel Johnson has more.

The two-day meeting planned in Geneva beginning Thursday has been billed as a chance to conclude talks that have been under way for seven months.

That's according to the UN's Libya mission, UNSMIL, which has just finished hosting negotiations between the country's representatives in Morocco.

Under the terms of previously agreed deadlines, the UN mission says that the Geneva meeting is being held so that Libya's rival factions can put their names to a new political agreement.

This blueprint will be key to how the country is run in future.

Up to now, the north African country has been split and devastated by conflict since the overthrow of President Muammar Ghadaffi in 2011.

Time is of the essence, according to the chief UN negotiator, Bernardino Léon.

In a statement ahead of the Geneva talks, he said that time "was fast running out for Libya" amid continuing bloodletting, a growing terrorist threat and a collapsing currency.

The hope is that an agreement will be signed in the days following this next round of talks in Geneva.

That will provide the perfect opportunity for the international community to give the accord its approval at the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

However, amid uncertainty whether a key player in the talks–the General National Congress (GNC)–will be present in Geneva, the UN negotiator said he hoped they would indeed rejoin the process.

The GNC was already absent from the Morocco negotiations after two of its team stood down.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1'18" 

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