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UN warns of risks from Libya crisis

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The crisis over control of executive power in Libya could lead to instability and parallel governments, the UN political affairs chief told the Security Council on Wednesday.

“Libya is now facing a new phase of political polarization, which risks dividing its institutions once again and reversing the gains achieved over the past two years,” Rosemary DiCarlo said.

Libya’s political crisis has escalated since the collapse of a scheduled election in December that was planned as part of a peace process to reunify the country after years of chaos and war following a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.

The parliament declared the interim unity government that was meant to oversee the run-up to elections as expired, and appointed Fathi Bashagha as the new prime minister this month.

The unity government’s prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah has refused to cede power, however, and armed factions supporting each side have mobilized in and around the capital.

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The UN is seeking to resolve the crisis by pushing for new elections soon and has asked political bodies to join a committee to resolve constitutional and legal disputes that helped torpedo December’s planned vote.

“We have observed increasingly threatening rhetoric, growing political tensions and divided loyalties among the armed groups in western Libya,” DiCarlo said.

She added that there had been worrying developments, including the suspension of domestic flights inside Libya and movement last week by some forces backing either side toward the capital.

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