Libya's state-news agency says that a referendum on the draft constitution will be held in March, a possible breakthrough for the country in conflict.

LANA on Thursday quoted assembly's Abdel-Moneim al-Sherif as saying that an initial copy will be released for public debate in late December. Tasked with writing the constitution, 60 elected members of the assembly are meeting in the eastern city of Bayda.

Libya is witnessing the worst spasm of violence since the toppling of leader Moammar Gadhafi three years ago. To maintain order, succeeding governments have relied on militias, which have subsequently turned against elected authorities.

Last month Islamist-allied militias seized the capital, Tripoli, and the country's second-largest city, Benghazi, forcing the elected parliament and government to convene in the eastern city of Tobruk.