Senior negotiator for the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC), Saleh Makhzoum, quit on Wednesday the UN-sponsored talks on forming a unity government, one day before a new round of negotiations began, according to a statement released on the GNC website.
Makhzoum also resigned from his post as deputy GNC president.
The GNC gave no official reason for such an incident to happen at such a dire time, but Makhzoum’s Justice and Construction Party released a separate statement blaming differences between him and President of the GNC, Nouri Abu Sahmain, over the method used for managing the UN’s peace-process talks.
The UN had scheduled a new round of talks that will be held in Morocco to push the opposing sides to agree on a deal this month, in which the Libyan Tobruk-based House of Representatives had already signed a preliminary deal last month.
No immediate word from the UN was released on whether the Morocco talks would go ahead on Thursday following the resignation of head negotiator of the GNC side.
Another member of the GNC delegation, Mohamed Moazab, said, “Makhzoum had the ability to deal quickly with reactions from the other dialogue side and know how they think.”
The UN said in a statement on Wednesday that UN Special Envoy, Bernardino Leon, had addressed the UN Security Council in a video conference saying that, “overcoming the political polarization and divisiveness in Libya will be no easy task, the onus is on Libya’s leaders on all sides, and at all levels, to make that final push towards peace.”
According to Leon’s statement, an estimated 1.9 million people need urgent assistance to meet their basic health-care needs, and access to food is a major problem for 1.2 million people.
The UN proposed a one-year unity government in which a council of ministers headed by a prime minister and two deputies would have sole executive authority.
The UN appointed Bernardino León on August 14, 2014 in an attempt to mediate efforts in peace-process negotiations between the two warring governments in Libya.
The negotiations have stretched on for months now to try and form a unity cabinet that could be the possible solution for the country’s four years civil-war following the deposition of former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi.
Armed forces linked to each of the two administrations have brought the country’s oil-dependent economy to its knees.
Adding to Libya’s ongoing crisis, its security has also rapidly deteriorated as ISIS militants, and other armed groups not linked to either governments, exploit the current power vacuum.