Head of Libya's UN-backed government announces his new "political initiative" as eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar continues his military campaign to take capital Tripoli.

Iran Press/Africa: Libya’s UN-recognized government in Tripoli has sought to break the deadlock in the country’s civil war by launching a peace initiative which will include a national peace forum followed by simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections to be held by the end of the year, according to Iran Press report.

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"I present today a political initiative for a way out of the crisis, involving simultaneous presidential and legislative elections before the end of 2019," Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj outlined Speaking at a news conference on Sunday, adding that he was proposing a "Libyan congress" aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the conflict.

"I present today a political initiative for a way out of the crisis. First, an all-inclusive Libyan congress to be convened, with the coordination of the international players whereby we pave the way for building the state on the rule of law and democracy," he said, adding that "Second, during this Congress an agreement will be reached on a future roadmap, where the constitutional foundation will be laid for presidential and legislative elections before the end of 2019."

Khalifa Haftar has presented himself as a strong hand who can restore stability in Libya, but his opponents view him as an aspiring autocrat and fear a return to one-man rule. Sarraj did not say whether Haftar or his representatives would be included in his proposed talks.

The two conflicting camps have so far refused to negotiate a ceasefire as Fayez al Sarraj alleged that Haftar is seeking to "undermine the democratic process and to re-establish a totalitarian regime; that of an individual and a single family".

Sarraj said his proposed initiative would take place with support from the UN mission in Libya. The UN mission to Libya in a brief statement welcomed Sarraj's initiative, describing it as a "constructive proposal to advance the political process towards ending Libya's long state of conflict".

Fighting to gain control of capital Tripoli intensified since April, which more than 94,000 have been displaced by the fighting; over 650 people, including combatants and civilians, were killed according to the World Health Organization. 

Sarraj also demanded an international probe into alleged "war crimes and crimes against humanity" since Haftar launched his offensive; the two camps have so far refused to negotiate a ceasefire.

Libya has been grappling with violence and instability ever since the United States and NATO decided to militarily intervene in the country and oust the long-time dictator and strongman, Muammar Gadhafi.  The United Nations and the majority of the international community recognize the government of prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, and a parliament in Tripoli, but a rival government and rival parliament based in the east of the country and supported by the warlord General Khalifa Haftar also exists. This rival renegade government is not recognized internationally but Saudi Arabia and UAE support it. 212/ 104

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