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UN still recognizes Libya’s Dbeibah as PM despite challenge: spokesman

The United Nations will continue to support Libya’s unity government chief Abdulhamid Dbeibah, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday, after an alternative prime minister was named in a controversial vote by the country’s parliament.

Asked during a daily press briefing whether the UN continued to recognise Dbeibah as interim prime minister, the spokesman said “the short answer is yes.”

“It’s very important for all Libyan leaders and stakeholders to keep in mind the Libyan people,” Dujarric said, adding that the UN’s aim was to “help the Libyan people.”

“We have seen the reports of the appointment of another prime minister,” he said. “Our position remained unchanged.”

The war-torn country’s parliament, based in eastern Libya hundreds of miles (kilometers) from the capital, voted to replace Dbeibah with former interior minister Fathi Bashagha, raising the spectre of a power struggle in the capital after a year and a half of relative calm.

Dbeibah, a construction tycoon appointed a year ago as part of United Nations-led peace efforts, has vowed only to hand power to a government that emerges from a democratic vote.

His unity government took office in early 2021.

But when December 24 elections were cancelled amid deep divisions over their legal basis and several controversial candidates, his rivals charged that his mandate had ended.

Libya has seen a decade of conflict since the 2011 revolt that toppled dictator Muammar Qaddafi, leaving a patchwork of militias vying for control over an oil-rich country riven by regional divisions.

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