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‘Milestone’: UNSC Backs New Libyan Interim Government

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously agreed to support the new interim government in Libya, praising the move as “an important milestone” in the conflict-ridden North African country’s political process.

In a statement drafted by Britain, the 15-member body called on “the interim executive authority to agree swiftly on the formation of a new, inclusive government,” and to “launch a comprehensive national reconciliation process.”

The Security Council also stressed the need to respect the ceasefire observed since October, and to proceed with “the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya without further delay.”

Libyan delegates at the UN-facilitated talks in Switzerland on Friday selected an interim executive to lead the oil-rich country until December elections.

The delegates chose Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, a businessman from the western city of Misrata, as Libya’s new prime minister, and elected a three-member presidential council at the end of five days of talks, which took place within a framework known as the Libyan Political Dialog Forum comprised of 75 participants picked by the UN.

All candidates for the new government vowed to honor a plan to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24, and gave written pledges. None of them will be allowed to run for office.

Libya has been grappling with unchecked violence since the overthrow of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 during an operation backed by the Western alliance of NATO.

Since 2014, two rival seats of power have emerged in Libya, namely the UN-recognized government based in the capital Tripoli, and another camp based in the eastern city of Tobruk, backed militarily by armed rebels.

The country descended into unprecedented chaos last year after the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) under rebel commander Khalifa Haftar moved toward Tripoli to seize the city. They were repelled by government forces.

The conflict has escalated into a regional proxy war fueled by foreign powers pouring weapons and mercenaries into the country.

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