Rival Libyan governments agree on date to sign UN peace deal

United Nations-backed national unity government deal to be signed by rival Libyan factions in mid December

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

United Nations Special Representative and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, Martin Kobler speaks a news conference in Tripoli, November 22, 2015

Libya’s feuding parliamentary bodies on Friday agreed to sign a United Nations (UN) backed agreement to form a national unity government to end the ongoing conflict in the county.

For the last year the UN has been supporting efforts to get Libya’s rival governments to sign a peace deal.   

Libya has been largely divided between two parliaments in the capital Tripoli, known as the General National Congress [GNC], and the House of Representatives [HoR] in the eastern city of Tobruk. Each parliament is backed by its own militia.

Due to the power vacuum resulting from the HoR’s control of the country’s east and the GNC’s control of the west, cities like Sirte in central Libya suffer from lawlessness or tribal rule, making them easy targets for groups like DAESH. 

If the two sides successfully sign the accord on December 16, Libya will receive further support from the international community to fight against DAESH.

French European Affairs Minister Harlem Desir said on Friday that "Every week that passes is used by IS [DAESH] to try to make Libya a terrorist base."
Several rounds of peace talks have collapsed in the past, in Morocco and Geneva, as opponents from both sides debated over details or demanded further concessions from each other. 

UN Libya envoy Martin Kobler said, "there was a wide consensus that only through rapid signature of the Libyan political agreement the country can be brought back to unity."

"Many problems remain, but this has to be solved by the new government in place. That's what governments are there for," he added.

The US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power - council president for December - asserted that the UN is ready to sanction anyone "who threatens Libya's peace, stability and security."

Libya has been facing a violent streak of unrest since long-time autocrat Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011.

Since then, the country’s economy, which is highly dependent on oil sales, has also suffered dramatically. Oil output has declined to less than half of the 1.6 million barrels per day that it was prior 2011.

Libya's UN Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi told the Security Council that "The time has come to sign the agreement."

TRTWorld and agencies