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CAIRO: Libyan envoys at UN-backed talks in Egypt agreed Wednesday to hold a constitutional referendum before planned elections in the war-torn country later this year, Egypt’s foreign ministry said.

Egypt “welcomes the agreement reached today between the Libyan parties in Hurghada in the framework of the constitutional process... and appreciates the efforts that led to the agreement to hold a referendum on the draft constitution in view of the Libyan elections scheduled for December 24, 2021,” the ministry said in a statement.

New talks will be held in Egypt next month with a view to settling the “road map for the referendum and elections”, it added.

Oil-rich Libya has been torn apart by civil war since the NATO-backed uprising that ousted long-time dictator Muammar Qadhafi in 2011, with an array of militias filling the vacuum and civilian bodies struggling to impose their authority.

The UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) is based in the capital, while a House of Representatives which does not recognise the Tripoli administration is based in the east.

A fragile ceasefire between the two sides, agreed in Geneva last October, has largely held despite threats by eastern military strongman Khalifa Haftar to resume fighting. In the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Hurghada, members of the commission drafting a future constitution met with delegations from the House of Representatives and the Tripoli-based High Council of State, which advises the GNA.

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