West Libya factions raise doubts on Paris talks

TUNIS - Groups in western Libya have cast doubt on talks in Paris on Tuesday that aim to pave the way for elections in the divided country, fearing the meeting could play into the hands of their rival, eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar.

Libya splintered following the 2011 NATO-backed revolt that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, and since 2014 has been divided into competing political and military factions based in Tripoli and the east. The United Nations is leading an effort to reunify the oil-rich nation and to organize national elections.

The Paris meeting is due to include Haftar, Tripoli Prime Minister Fayez Seraj, and the leaders of rival parliamentary assemblies, and urge them to agree to general principles for ending Libya's crisis, a French official said.

"There will be a collective commitment to do everything to ensure that the elections are held by the end of the year," the official said. France is also seeking agreement on unifying financial and security institutions.

Tripoli's State Council, one of Libya's two rival assemblies, voted to send a delegation to the talks, but also issued a series of demands including an immediate ceasefire in the eastern city of Derna and the lifting of a siege there by Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA).