Libya conflict

UN chief calls on ‘all parties’ to ‘preserve stability’ in Libya

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UN chief Antonio Guterres called Friday on “all parties to continue to preserve stability in Libya as a top priority,” after the country found itself with two competing prime ministers, raising the specter of renewed violence.

The secretary-general reminded “all institutions of the primary goal of holding national elections as soon possible,” in a statement saying that he “takes note” of the Libyan parliament’s naming of a new prime minister.

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The UN chief’s statement did not mention by name either Libya’s interim Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah or the new prime minister appointed on Thursday, Fathi Bashagha.

Guterres also did not repeat what his spokesman had said a day earlier, namely that the UN has continued to support Dbeibah as interim prime minister.

War-torn Libya’s parliament, based in the country’s east hundreds of miles (kilometers) from the capital, voted to replace Dbeibah with former interior minister Bashagha, raising the prospect of a power struggle in the capital after a year and a half of relative calm.

Dbeibah, a construction tycoon appointed a year ago as part of United Nations-led peace efforts, has vowed only to hand power to a government that emerges from a democratic vote.

His unity government took office in early 2021.

But when December 24 elections were cancelled amid deep divisions over their legal basis and several controversial candidates, his rivals charged that his mandate had ended.

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