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Libyan leaders approve interim executive mechanism: UN

The UN called it a 'significant step forward' [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 January, 2021

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Interim UN envoy Stephanie Williams said 'Libyans have now a genuine opportunity to move past their differences and divisions' with this step

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Libya, UN, war

Libyan envoys at UN-backed talks to end nearly a decade of war voted Tuesday to pass the mechanism to choose an interim executive to govern until polls in December, the UN said.

The UN called it a "significant step forward".

Libya has been torn apart by civil war since the NATO-backed uprising that ousted long-time dictator Moamer Gadaffi in 2011, with an array of militias filling the vacuum and civilian bodies struggling to impose their authority.

But talks held in the Swiss city of Geneva have brought together 75 delegates -- selected by the UN to represent a broad range of constituencies -- in the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF).

"Following the agreement on a proposal for the selection mechanism of a unified executive authority... the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) conducted a one-day voting process," the UN said, with the vote running from Monday to Tuesday.

A total of 73 percent backed the proposal.

"Libyans have now a genuine opportunity to move past their differences and divisions, (and) select a temporary government to reunify their institutions through the long-awaited democratic national elections" on December 24, interim UN envoy Stephanie Williams said.

The UN was "finalising the nomination procedure" and an election timeline, she added.

The UN-recognised Government of National Accord controls Tripoli and most of the west, while a rival administration dominated by military strongman Khalifa Haftar controls Benghazi and the east.

Both camps in Libya's complex war have received extensive backing from foreign powers.

A fragile ceasefire between the two sides, agreed in Geneva last October, has largely held despite threats by Haftar to resume fighting.

On Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hailed "tangible progress" made in recent months in Libya.

But Guterres also urged "regional and international actors to respect the provisions of the ceasefire agreement", with its three-month deadline to withdraw foreign forces from Libya expiring on January 23.

The UN estimates there are still some 20,000 foreign forces and mercenaries in Libya helping the warring factions.

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