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Nascent talks underway to help resolve Libyan crisis

While an agreement to end the crisis in Libya is still a long way off, the beginnings of a negotiation process have begun under the auspices of the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

In his remarks to the third high-level meeting with regional organizations on Libya, which was held in Cairo, Mr. Ban added that finding a political solution to the crisis remains the top priority of the world body.

He also stressed the importance of a coordinated effort and consistent message from the world community to the actors on the ground in Libya, where fighting has been raging for months between Government forces and rebel groups seeking the ouster of Muammar al-Qadhafi.

�Each passing day brings more turmoil to the people of Libya, the situation is still very fluid and the front lines keep shifting. It is important that we continue to work together,� Mr. Ban told the meeting via video-conference.

The talks that are now underway are being held under the auspices of the Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Libya, Abdul Elah al-Khatib.

Mr. Ban also voiced strong concern about the humanitarian situation inside the country, where there are shortages of food, fuel, medical personnel and dwindling access to water services. UN agencies and their partners have been working to assist as many of the affected civilians as possible.

�The UN's humanitarian efforts are taking place under extremely difficult circumstances,� he noted.

The Secretary-General also discussed his concerns about the humanitarian situation in a phone call yesterday with Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi.

Also participating in the Cairo meeting were representatives from the African Union, European Union, League of Arab States, and Organization of the Islamic Conference.

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