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U.N. worried about condition of things in Libya, proposes new talks


The widening Muslim extremists in Libya is becoming a source of worry to the United Nations.

The United Nations said Thursday that it was starting a new round of talks here aimed at ending the chaos and violence in Libya, as international concern grows over the widening influence of Muslim extremists there.

Series of talks aimed at reaching a political settlement, including a national unity government, are seen as a last chance of ending months of crisis between rival militants that has continued to destabilize the country for a long time now.

Bernardino León, the special representative of the secretary general and the head of the United Nations Mission in Libya, has reportedly said that the insecurity and economic chaos being created by the long and sustained unrest, amounts to nothing but disaster to the country.

"It's going to be a long process; it's going to be difficult," Mr. León said. "We are not expecting to have a breakthrough tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. There is a gap between the parties, which is becoming more complicated; there is more fighting on the ground."

Mr. León called the talks after two months of consultations with a wide variety of groups, including the government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni, now based in the eastern city of Tobruk, and the rival Libya Dawn movement, which seized control of the capital, Tripoli, in August.

Other participants in the talks include representatives of some militias and important municipalities, Mr. León said.

Despite the lengthy preparations, some important political actors still have not committed to attend the talks, though the door remains open, Mr. León said.

Despite the lengthy preparations, some important political actors still have not committed to attend the talks, though the door remains open, Mr. León said.

Mr. León stressed the critical importance of reaching a settlement now. "There is military and security chaos in the country," with new lines of conflict opening up in recent weeks, a surge in terrorist activity in many areas and an economic crisis, he said.

The abduction of 21 Egyptian Christians in recent days by militants associating themselves with the Islamic State underscored concern about the spread of Muslim extremist groups outside the main areas of conflict in Syria and Iraq.

"The general impression is the country is very close to total chaos," Mr. León said, warning that if this effort failed it would be hard to imagine a situation that would allow another peace process to start.

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