U.N. urges Libyans to ‘unite’ behind peace deal

The Security Council said it was ‘prepared to sanction those who threaten Libya's peace, stability and security’

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The U.N. Security Council welcomed an agreement reached on Friday to establish a unity government in Libya, calling on stakeholders in the country to support the peace deal.

A unanimous statement passed by the 15 members of the council called on all Libyans "to unite wholeheartedly and in a spirit of reconciliation behind this settlement, which represents the aspirations and hopes of the Libyan people."

The council also reiterated that it was "prepared to sanction those who threaten Libya's peace, stability and security or that undermine the successful completion of its political transition."

It encouraged the U.N. mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to help coordinate international assistance to the government that would be set up under the proposed peace accord.

The accord, brokered by U.N. envoy Bernardino Leon, would set up a new unity government headed by Fayez el-Sarraj, a deputy in the Tripoli parliament, and include three deputy prime ministers, one each from the west, east and south of the country.

It would seek to end the political turmoil that has existed since August 2014, when a militia alliance that included Islamists overran Tripoli, forcing the internationally recognized government to take refuge in the east and creating a second national administration.

But the deal faces resistance from Tripoli's self-declared rulers and hardliners on the ground.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. and European leaders also welcomed the proposed accord and urged Libyan leaders to sign off on the deal.

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