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Rival Libyan lawmakers hold UN-brokered talks for 1st time since upsurge of violence


CAIRO — Rival Libyan lawmakers held talks brokered by a United Nations envoy on Monday, in the first attempt to bridge the gap between warring groups that left the North African nation torn between two governments and parliaments.

In a press conference held in western city of Ghadamis, Bernardino Leon said the goal of the talks is to reach a "complete ceasefire." He described Monday's round of talks as "historic" and said that the two parties were sitting together "in brotherly atmosphere" and engaging to "overcome their differences through a political dialogue."

The talks included lawmakers from the two parliaments.

Libya witnessed a spasm of violence this summer when militias mainly from the western city of Misrata and groups allied to Islamists swept through the capital.

Leon said that the two sides agreed to discuss airports which have been closed and work toward opening all of them.

Weeks of fighting by militias in the capital led to destruction of its airport, prompting aviation authorities to increase dependence on smaller airports to receive international flights.

The airport in the eastern city of Benghazi, Libya's second largest city, has been closed for months as Islamist-led militias and forces loyal to a renege general battle each other nearby.

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