Tsipras holds talks with Sisi and Medvedev in Palermo

Libya's PM Sarraj meets eastern commander Haftar in Palermo

More than eight years after long-serving dictator Muammar Qaddafi was toppled by Western-backed rebels with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation air support, no central authority has asserted control over Libya and armed groups control the streets.

The Palermo conference aims to bring these various Libyan factions to the table to find a solution to the now seven-year-old civil war and push for elections to be held.

Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero on Wednesday spoke about the United Nations roadmap for elections in Libya, saying that "a temporal horizon has been identified, considering next spring to complete the process that should lead to the next elections".

Oktay specifically referred to the informal talks between the two main rival representatives of Libya - Prime Minister of UN-backed Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj and General Khalifa Haftar of the eastern Libyan National Army - which were painstakingly brokered by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on the sidelines of the conference on Tuesday morning.

On Nov. 12-13, Palermo is hosting an worldwide conference aimed at helping restore peace in Libya attended by Libyan political groups based both at home and overseas.

"You don't change the horse until you cross the river", the diplomat quoted Haftar as saying.

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Analysts say the Sicily summit risks being compromised not only by tensions between Libyan factions but also the competing agendas of foreign powers.

Libya plunged into chaos after the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, and it is now governed by rival administrations in the east and west with both relying on the support of militias.

"Haftar is being hard as he has done several times in the past", said Paris-based Libya specialist Jalel Harchaoui.

"I will not take part in the summit even if it takes 100 years", he said in a television interview viewed by Reuters before it was aired. The office of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who backs Hiftar, confirmed he participated in a "mini-summit" Tuesday with Conte and other leaders, without providing names.

Today's conference has been interpreted by some as an attempt by Italy to regain diplomatic responsibility for Libya from France, which had previously taken the reins in negotiations.

There were no announcements of diplomatic breakthroughs, but Serraj's spokesman said on Twitter that the prime minister was committed to a United Nations road map to hold an election in the spring after a constitutional framework had been put in place.



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