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Libyan Unity Agreement Postponed Until Thursday


A police officer rides in front of the International Conference Center where the signing of a U.N.-sponsored deal aiming to end Libya's conflict was to take place in Sikhrat, Morocco, Dec.16, 2015. The deal is expected to be signed Thursday.

A police officer rides in front of the International Conference Center where the signing of a U.N.-sponsored deal aiming to end Libya's conflict was to take place in Sikhrat, Morocco, Dec.16, 2015. The deal is expected to be signed Thursday.

The signing of a U.N.-sponsored peace deal between Libya's warring factions has been delayed until Thursday because of logistical problems, a U.N. spokesman and Libyan members from the country's two rival parliaments said Wednesday.

Libya has one internationally recognized government in Tobruk, in the country's east, and the self-declared General National Congress, which took over the capital Tripoli after fighting erupted last year. Each is backed by competing armed factions.

Representatives from the two factions were due to agree to the U.N.-backed accord on Wednesday after months of wrangling and opposition from hardliners in both camps.

However, the presidents of both rival parliaments dismissed the U.N. deal as a foreign imposition.

"We met to find a solution of the Libyan crisis and to let the world know that we are able to work our problems by ourselves," Aguila Saleh, president of the elected House of Representatives in the east, told reporters.

Saleh said he has asked the U.N. envoy's office to postpone the naming of the members of Libya's unity government so as to be sure they represent the authentic will of the people.

"We ask our people to be patient for the sake of Libya. All the people and the world wants stability in Libya. ... We tell them that this problem will be solved," he told reporters.

Nuri Abu Sahmain, head of the rival General National Congress in Tripoli, said they would consider parts of the U.N. accord, but asked the international community to consider their meeting as a way to a Libyan consensus.

Iron out disagreements

Sahmain indicated the final agreement had been put off in order to iron out a number of disagreements, including how a new parliament would be formed.

Al Arabiya TV reported U.N. special envoy Martin Kobler was meeting with members of the Libyan parliament in the eastern town of Beida to try to hammer out a final deal.

Tripoli-based parliament member Abu Bakr Ahmed told Libyan TV Western delegations are due in Morrocco for a signing ceremony expected to take place Thursday.

The pact called for a unity government to bring together the rival administrations and parliaments that have emerged four years after revolt ousted longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The Islamic State group has taken advantage of chaos in the country, setting up a local affiliate in Sirte city, and enlarging its territory inside Libya.

Ed Yeranian in Cairo contributed to this report. Some material for this report came from AP and Reuters.

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