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New Libya govt must have Tripoli HQ: U.N. envoy

Delaying the formation of a government plays into the hands of ISIS, Kobler warned

Published: Updated:

U.N. envoy Martin Kobler on Monday urged the speedy formation of a Libyan national unity government and said it should be installed in the capital Tripoli, Algerian state media reported.

Kobler said the turmoil that has wracked Libya since the 2011 revolution that toppled dictator Muammar Qaddafi had created a “political and military vacuum” and helped the spread of ISIS, the APS news agency said.

“We must advance on the political process by installing a government in Tripoli,” it quoted Kobler as saying after talks in Algiers with the minister in charge of Maghreb affairs, Abdelkader Messahel.

Libya has had two rival administrations, with the recognized authorities based in the country’s far east and a militia-backed authority in Tripoli since the summer of 2014.

In mid-December, a minority of lawmakers from both sides signed a deal to unify the government and said the cabinet should be based in Tripoli.

A national unity government headed by businessman Fayez al-Sarraj and comprising 32 ministers was formed in January but was rejected by the recognized parliament.

The legislature demanded a trimmed line-up and Sarraj has been holding consultations with several key players to press for its creation.

Sarraj, who on Saturday met controversial army chief General Khalifa Haftar who is opposed by the Tripoli-based administration, is expected to announce a new line-up within days.

Delaying the formation of a government plays into the hands of ISIS, Kobler warned.

Messahel, also quoted by APS, agreed with his assessment.

“We are impatient to see this government installed in Tripoli,” he said.

On Sunday, France and the African Union also pressed Libya’s divided politicians to agree on a unity government in order to curb the spread of ISIS which both countries see as a threat.