Divided Libya proposes new national unity government

Divided Libya proposes new national unity government
Libya's UN-backed council announced the formation of a revised national unity government on Sunday, with the internationally-recognised parliament to vote on the line-up early this week.
2 min read
15 February, 2016
A council was formed for the establishment of a unity government in Libya [Getty]
Delegates from rival Libyan factions have proposed a new unity government for the chaotic country, after months of UN mediation and the rejection of a previous cabinet proposal.

The Unity Presidential Council announced the 18-member government late on Sunday in the Moroccan city of Skhirat.

The council was formed after negotiations in Morocco last year, with the aim of forming a unity government.

A list of 13 ministers and five ministers of state has been sent for approval to Libya's eastern parliament, announced Fathi al-Majbari.

The latest proposal needs approval from the internationally recognised parliament in the east, which rejected a proposed unity government last month.

"We call on Libyans suffering from the fighting and the members of parliament to support the Government of National Accord, which will provide the framework to fight terrorism," Majbari said.

UN Libya envoy Martin Kobler tweeted his congratulations, calling Sunday's announcement "a unique peace opportunity that must not be missed."

The announcement did not mention needing approval from the rival Islamist-dominated parliament in the west.

The US and Europe are concerned that Islamic State [IS] extremists are taking advantage of the political vacuum in Libya.

Libya has been in a political turmoil rocked by violence since the ousting of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a 2011 revolution.

It now has two governments and parliaments, with the recognised authorities based in the eastern city of Tobruk and a militia-backed authority in Tripoli.

IS militant group first appeared in the North African state in 2014 and has since claimed responsibility for beheadings and suicide bombings.

Last June, IS fighters captured Sirte, 280 miles [450 kilometres] east of Tripoli.

The group already controlled the city's airport and a nearby power plant.

In recent weeks, IS extremists launched attacks from Sirte against facilities in the "oil crescent" along the coast.

The IS group is reported to have at least 3,000 fighters in Libya.

Agencies contributed to this report.