UN Proposes Unity Govt For Libya’s Warring Factions

The UN has proposed a national unity government to Libya’s warring factions to end their conflict.

But the deal faces resistance from Tripoli’s self-declared rulers and hardliners on the ground.

Libya is caught up in a war between the internationally recognised government and its elected parliament, and an unofficial government controlling Tripoli, each side is backed by rival alliances of armed factions.

Four years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Western powers are pushing for both sides to accept the U.N. accord, fearing violence has allowed Islamist militants to gain ground and illegal migrant smugglers to take advantage of the chaos.

Libya’s recognised government has operated out of the east of the country since last year when an armed faction called Libya Dawn took over Tripoli, set up its own government and reinstated a former parliament known as the GNC.

The UN proposal comes after months of protracted negotiations between delegates from both sides, who have faced pressure from hardliners and from continued fighting on the ground that has halted part of Libya’s oil production.

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Delegates from Tripoli’s GNC parliament already balked at proposing candidates for the unity government because they wanted more amendments to the initial deal.

But the UN proposal includes GNC members for the government.

Speaking on the development, UN envoy Bernardino Leon, told newsmen in the Moroccan city of Skhirat, site of recent talks that “the GNC decided yesterday not to propose names and to ask for more changes in the text.

“The international community has been very clear that after huge efforts to adapt the text it is not possible to continue to do this,” Leon said.

He said the door remained open for the GNC to participate in the proposed unity government as both the elected House of Representatives and the GNC in Tripoli were expected to vote on the proposal.

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In the same vein, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement issued by his media office, welcomed the proposal and urged the parties to accept and sign the agreement.

“Now is the time for the parties to the political dialogue to endorse this proposal and sign the agreement without delay,” Ban said in the statement.

The deal names six candidates for key posts in the national government; including Fayez Seraj, a lawmaker from the elected House of Representatives who would be prime minister with three deputy prime ministers.

But the proposal faces problems on the ground, including the reaction of militant hardliners on both sides who still see the possibility of gaining more ground through fighting.

Libya still has no official national army as each side is backed by loose alliances of former anti-Gaddafi rebels, ex-soldiers, tribal factions and Islamist-leaning brigades, who once fought Gaddafi’s forces but have steadily turned against each other