Libya Talks On New Unity Government Gather Pace: UN

Talks on changes to Libya’s unity government could yield results in the coming weeks, putting the north African country on a path to stability, the UN envoy said on Wednesday.

The UN-backed government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj was installed in Tripoli last year but has failed to assert itself further east, where strongman General Khalifa Haftar holds sway.

UN envoy Martin Kobler told the UN Security Council that talks on “possible amendments” to the political agreement, and notably on Haftar’s future role, have made progress in the past two months.

“I am confident that a format will be found in the next weeks within which these questions can be decided upon and recommendations can be put forth for approval to the relevant institutions,” Kobler said.

Any changes must be endorsed by the Libyan House of Representatives, which has refused to back the Sarraj government.

“2017 must be a year of decisions and political breakthrough,” said Kobler.

Security Council members Egypt and Russia have offered support for Haftar, whose self-declared Libyan National Army has had success in battling jihadists.

Britain also said it backed a broader government.

“What we need is a genuinely inclusive government that brings in all of the key actors in Libya, and we need that because that is the best way to restore stability,” said British Deputy Ambassador Peter Wilson.

Libya has been in turmoil since the 2011 ousting of Moammar Gaddafi, with rival administrations vying for power.

Despite the political deadlock, Libya has boosted its oil production to over 700 000 barrels a day, providing the state with much-needed revenue.

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