Negotiator: give Libya talks benefit of doubt

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The press conference at the UN in Geneva where negotiator Bernardino Leon (centre) said that every effort had been made to get all participants to the talks. Photo: UN

Talks aimed at bringing peace to Libya got under way in Geneva on Tuesday with a call to all parties to give the discussions the "benefit of the doubt".

UN negotiator Bernardino Leon made his comments to journalists in the Swiss city where he said he aims to bring opposing parties together for the sake of the Libyan people.

After four years of conflict since the ousting of Libya President Muammar Gaddafi, Leon said that the aim was to get all parties to reach an agreement by early September.

Here's Daniel Johnson's report from Geneva

Amid a break in the peace talks, UN negotiator Bernardino Leon spoke to journalists to say that the Geneva talks had two aims: one, to discuss the concerns of all parties, and second, to talk about setting up a so-called unity government.

The UN negotiator also said he was "glad" that all parties to the talks had arrived, adding that it had been worth waiting an extra day so that everyone could take part.

The aim is to reach an agreement which can be signed in early September by taking into account the concerns of all participants, Leon said.

"So we will continue to listen, we will continue to work with all of them, and we hope that they will give the process the benefit of the doubt, and it will be possible to continue to work and see what is the final picture at the end of the day."

Bernardino Leon however added a note of caution, explaining that significant challenges remain to reaching an agreement – a likely reference to the Tripoli-based General National Congress's concerns about working with the internationally recognized authority in Tobruk, in the east of the country.

The UN negotiator added that reaching a deal was not dependent on addressing the concerns of just one party in the east or west of the country, since there were problems in the south, too.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’15″


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