Tripoli govt does not allow landing of UN envoy in capital

Tripoli based General National Congress does not allow UN Libya envoy Kobler's landing in capital

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Martin Kobler, United Nations Special Representative and Head of the U.N. Support Mission in Libya (R) speaks as he stands next to Khemaies Jhinaoui, Tunisian Foreign Minister, during the news conference after the 8th ministerial meeting of Libya's neighb

General National Congress in the Libyan capital has declined to give permission for the United Nations envoy Martin Kobler to Libya to land in Tripoli.

The diplomat announced it on his Twitter account that he has had to cancel another flight to Tripoli because of this.

Kobler has been pressing Libya's rival parliaments based in Tripoli and Tobruk -the far eastern region of the country- to reconcile and accept a third UN-backed government that emerged from a December political agreement between Libya's factions.

The new government is facing some challenges, including how to get into Tripoli, something that had been tentatively planned for later this week.

Earlier, Kobler had been slightly more optimistic, telling reporters in neighbouring Tunisia on Tuesday that though he doesn't have the exact date, it's "a matter of days, not weeks" for the unity government to install itself in Tripoli despite opposition from the city's authorities.

Libya's chaos, five years after the uprising that led to the ouster and killing of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi, has left the country deeply divided between two rival governments, one based in the eastern city of Tobruk and another one in capital Tripoli, and both rejects the third UN-backed government. 

The unity government, brokered by the UN and headed by a little-known Libyan technocrat, Fayez Serraj, is supposed to replace the two rival administrations.

Libyan Prime Minister-designate Fayez Seraj speaks during the 8th ministerial meeting of Libya's neighbouring countries in Tunis, Tunisia March 22, 2016 / Reuters.

DAESH terrorists have exploited the years of chaos in Libya and taken control of a central Libyan city and its surroundings, which in turn has given new impetus to Western countries and the UN to try to piece the country back together.

Kobler said that "it is urgent to stop the expansion" of the DAESH terrorists into neighbouring countries such as Tunisia.

Serraj said that the world and the region "must react quickly" to stop the "cancer." He called on Libyans to set aside differences and build a new, safe Libya.

The two spoke after a ministerial meeting of Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Chad, Sudan and Niger, all facing threats by extremists.

Tripoli authorities could not be immediately reached for comment on their refusal to allow Kobler to land.

TRTWorld, AP