New U.N. envoy pushes Libya factions to sign peace deal

United Nations Special Representative and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, Martin Kobler speaks during a news conference in Tripoli Nov. 22, 2015.

United Nations Special Representative and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, Martin Kobler speaks during a news conference in Tripoli Nov. 22, 2015.


The new United Nations envoy to Libya on Sunday urged warring factions to sign up to a previously negotiated agreement for a unity government, saying there could be consultations but no changes to the draft.

U.N.-sponsored talks to end the conflict between Libya’s two rival governments and their armed factions have stalled since hardliners in both camps have resisted voting on the deal, which Western governments hope will lead to stability.

New envoy Martin Kobler met over the weekend with the internationally recognised government and elected parliament in the east, and with representatives of the self-declared government in Tripoli and its parliament.

“We maybe need a quick round of consultation, but not to change the draft… I will not open the draft,” Kobler said after talks in Tripoli. “I push for quick decisions, but not for hasty decisions.”

Four years after rebellion ousted Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has slipped ever deeper into unrest with rival brigades of former rebel fighters backing two loose political alliances in a battle for control of the OPEC oil-producing country.

The U.N. agreement proposes a unity government led by a presidential council of a prime minister, five deputy prime ministers and three senior ministers — an unwieldy arrangement meant to appease all parties.

The elected House of Representatives in the east will be the main legislature, alongside a second chamber, the State Council, that includes members of the reinstated parliament, the General National Congress in Tripoli. The deal also envisages demobilization of armed factions.

But both houses are still to vote on the deal. Already critics in both camps dismiss it, and there are questions about how the new government will be implemented and where it will operate if it gets backing on the ground.


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