US, European powers, Egypt hail Libya unity government

US, European powers, Egypt hail Libya unity government
2 min read
In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of France, Germany, the US, Italy and Britain said: 'We applaud the Libyan people for their determination to restore unity to their country'
Libya is war-torn [Getty]

The United States, European powers, Egypt and Jordan on Thursday hailed a vote by Libya's parliament to approve a unity government to lead the war-ravaged North African nation to December elections.

In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of France, Germany, the US, Italy and Britain said: "We applaud the Libyan people for their determination to restore unity to their country.

And they reiterated a call for "the withdrawal of all foreign fighters and mercenaries from all of Libya".

"This outcome is a fundamental step on the path towards the unification of Libyan institutions and a comprehensive political solution to a crisis that has tested Libya and its people," the joint statement said.

Similar comments were issued earlier at a joint news conference with the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Egypt and Jordan.

France's Jean-Yves Le Drian called it a "major advance" while his German counterpart Heiko Maas said it was an "excellent development".

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry called the development "good news".

"The fact that yesterday there was a vote of confidence concerning the political process that has been started... that's an important point," he said.

"It's a step towards stability, security and the sovereignty of Libya."

Oil-rich Libya descended into conflict after dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and killed in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011, resulting in multiple forces backed by competing foreign powers vying for control of the country.

After two days of intense debate under heavy security in the central city of Sirte, Libya's parliament on Wednesday approved the cabinet of interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.

The United Nations mission to the country praised leaders for the "patriotic efforts that led to this landmark moment in the history of Libya".

Libya has been split between the UN-recognised Government of National Accord, based in the capital Tripoli and backed by Turkey, and an administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar, with the backing of the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia.

Dbeibah said Wednesday that it was time "to turn the page on wars and divisions", but the country faces a series of daunting challenges including soaring unemployment, inflation and poor or non-existent public services.

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