Libya’s unity gov’t to start taking control of three ministries

Libya’s UN-backed unity government will begin taking control of three ministries in attempt to assert itself ahead of vote

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

United Nations' envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler holds a press conference with Libyan deputy prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Ahmed Maiteeq on April 17, 2016.

Updated Apr 18, 2016

Deputy Prime Minister of Libya’s UN-backed unity government Ahmed Maiteeq said on Sunday that the government would take control of three ministries on Monday, in the latest step to assert its authority over the conflict-torn country.

"More than six ministries are ready, of which three will be handed over administratively tomorrow," Maiteeq said.

Maiteeq told a press conference that the unity government would begin running the ministries of social affairs, youth and sports and housing and public works from Monday, regardless of the results of the vote of confidence.

"The legislative authorities must quickly give the GNA its legitimacy through the House of Representatives in order for it to serve the Libyan people," Maiteeq said adding that this would "endorse the GNA in order to save the Libyan people from all the problems."

The legislature's endorsement would be a key step for the unity government of prime minister-designate Fayez al Sarraj, which has been working to assert its authority in the war-torn nation.

The United Nations said that its staff were back in Tripoli as Libya’s unity government vowed further steps to assert its authority on the eve of a crucial confidence vote.

United Nations' envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, holds a press conference with the Libyan deputy prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) on April 17, 2016. (AFP)

UN envoy Martin Kobler said that his staff returned after leaving amid violence in mid-2014, three years after Libya was dragged into chaos following the death of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Their arrival came a day before the recognised government votes on the UN-backed unity government in an attempt to end years of chaos in the North African nation.

"The UN staff will be in Tripoli five days a week... I am not visiting Tripoli any more, I am working out of Tripoli," Kobler said at a joint news conference with Maiteeq.

The UN-backed unity government arrived in the Libyan capital late last month where it is trying to establish itself. The international community hopes it can end Libya's security crisis and political turmoil and unite some of its armed factions to take on DAESH terrorist organisation.

There have been two competing sets of parliament and governments in Tripoli and Tobruk since mid-2014.

Sarraj's government was formed under a UN-backed power-sharing deal agreed in December and supported by some lawmakers from both sides.

Prime Minister of Libya’s unity government Fayez al Sarraj speaks during a joint press conference with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (unseen) in Tunis on January 8, 2016. (AFP)

The unity cabinet has been steadily winning support from local officials and state institutions, though the head of the Tripoli-based administration, Khalifa Ghweil, has refused to recognise its authority.

Kobler visited Tripoli shortly after Sarraj's government arrived in the capital under naval escort on March 30. The UN envoy will be in Tobruk on Monday.

There has been a flurry of diplomatic trips to back the unity government, including a visit on Saturday by French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The first clashes since Sarraj's arrival broke out several hours after the ministers' visit, but had subsided by early Sunday.

TRTWorld and agencies