U.N. urges Libyan factions to agree unity government this month

Libya is split between two governments backed by armed factions fighting for control. Libya Dawn (File Photo: Reuters)

The United Nations special envoy to Libya called on the country’s warring parties on Tuesday to agree on a national unity government by the end of August and endorse it with a vote in September.

Libya is split between two governments backed by armed factions fighting for control. Libya Dawn, an alliance of local militias, drove the internationally recognized government out of the capital, Tripoli, and declared its own government a year ago, leaving the oil-rich country on the verge of anarchy.

“What Libya is facing now is deeper chaos and division... So I hope all the Libyan actors will be wise, to avoid this scenario, to expedite the talks and to reach an agreement very soon,” the U.N.’s Bernardino Leon, who opened two days of talks in Geneva, told a news briefing

“It is extremely risky to reach October without an agreement because we will be in a more chaotic situation. This is why it is important to have this time-line.”

The input of armed groups on security arrangements was important, Leon said, but was lagging behind the political process.

Some Libyan factions signed an initial U.N.-sponsored agreement in Morocco on July 12 to form a unity government and end fighting. A key player from the parliament in Tripoli, the General National Congress, stayed away then but is taking part in the Geneva talks, expected to last through Wednesday and possibly Thursday.

The U.N. proposal calls for a one-year government of national accord in which a council of ministers headed by a prime minister and two deputies would have executive authority. The Geneva talks focus on five annexes to the pact and the unity government, Leon said.

“We would like the GNC and all of the Libyans who are participating in the process to give the benefit of the doubt to this process,” he said.

Backing from neighboring countries, the European Union and the United States is important “because always the final miles in such a complicated process are the most difficult ones.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 13:56 - GMT 10:56