April 21, 2018 / 3:09 PM / 5 months ago

Tunisia reopens consulate in Libyan capital Tripoli

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Tunisia has reopened its consulate in the Libyan capital, the Libya foreign ministry said on Saturday, the latest mission to return to Tripoli.

Most embassies left Tripoli in 2014 when heavy fighting broke out between rival factions and few came back when a U.N.-backed administration took office in 2016.

The Tunisian consulate resumed work after talks between the two countries, the Libyan foreign ministry said. The Tunisian foreign ministry declined to comment, but a diplomatic source confirmed the move.

Tunisian had closed its mission 2015 after ten staff were kidnapped.

In recent weeks some Western embassies have sent diplomats for longer stays to Tripoli as security has improved, although few stay full time on the ground.

The Italian and Turkish embassies as well as the U.N. mission are among the few open.

Tripoli is formally run by a Government of National Accord backed by the U.N. but in reality controlled by a patchwork of armed groups.

Big street clashes between rival groups have ended, but several rockets which hit Tripoli airport this week were a reminder that security remains shaky.

The U.N has been trying to meditate to produce a national government and end the rift between the administration in Tripoli and a rival one in the east, part of a conflict gripping the oil producer since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Reporting by Ahmed Elumami and Tarek Amara; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Alexander Smith

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