UN proposes unity government for Libya

Rival Libyan parliaments set to vote on UN proposal for unity government to end years of fighting

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Protest against UN draft agreement talks headed by the Head of United Nations Support Mission in Libya, Bernardino Leon in Benghazi, September 18, 2015.

The UN on Thursday proposed that rival factions in Libya form a unity government to end the civil conflict that has emerged in the North African country after former strongman Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and subsequently killed in October 2011.

Libya is currently divided between the control of two rival parliaments, the GNC in the capital Tripoli and the House of Representatives, operating from the eastern city of Tobruk, each backed by their own militias.

The ongoing power-struggle between the two parliaments has disrupted Libya’s oil production and allowed refugees to take advantage of the security vacuum in the country to use it as a departure point from which they attempt to make the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean Sea into Europe.

As a result, hundreds have died drowning in the Mediterranean, while thousands have successfully made it across, contributing to Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.

Hardline groups such as ISIS have also managed to gain a foothold in the country, threatening not only security in Libya but also neighbouring European countries across the sea.

Talks to end the deadlock between the two rival parliaments have been continuing for months, but delegates from the GNC have thus far rejected the UN’s call for unity as they seek more amendments to the proposed deal.

"The GNC decided yesterday not to propose names and to ask for more changes in the text," UN envoy Bernardino Leon told reporters in Morocco, where talks are being held.

"The international community has been very clear that after huge efforts to adapt the text... It is not possible to continue to do this," he added.

According to the proposed deal, the GNC will be included in the new government and will be given one of two positions on the presidential council.

The House of Representatives will be given the post of prime minister, which will be backed by three deputy prime ministers.

Both the House of Representatives and the GNC are expected to vote on the proposal, although it is likely to face opposition by rival militias who still seek to gain ground on each other through fighting.

TRTWorld and agencies