The European Union plans to remove an east Libyan power broker from its sanctions blacklist to encourage peace efforts and ensure the EU plays a central role in any negotiated settlement, three diplomats said.
Final agreement could come later this month, although EU governments must overcome delays from Cyprus, according to Reuters.
Nicosia is holding up all sanctions approval until the EU agrees a tougher line on Turkey which violates the divided island’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
Sanctions need all 27 EU states to agree.
After months of inaction, European powers see a chance to reassert their role in Libya, in turmoil since the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi, after a ceasefire in August and to counter growing Turkish and Russian military involvement.
The EU has blacklisted Aguilah Saleh, leader of rebel-held eastern Libya’s parliament, since 2016, accused of obstructing peace efforts. But the diplomats said he was now a key figure in a push to bring the two sides of the Libyan conflict together.
Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) declared the ceasefire last month and called for a lifting of a seven-month blockade on oil facilities. Saleh also appealed for a halt to hostilities.
That was met with rebuke from eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, whose Libyan National Army has been backed by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, but whose stock has waned after a failed assault on Tripoli following Turkish military support to the GNA.