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Libya looks to the UN for help

The head of Libya’s presidential council, Mohamed Menfi, spoke for Libya at the UN on Wednesday, where he urged the UN to aid in bridging the country’s political divisions.

“We still expect an active role of the United Nations through the new leadership of our UN Mission in our country,” Menfi said.

“We call on the continuation of the mission in favour of national inclusive reconciliation that will allow us to overcome the current impasse. This impasse has opened the way for individual initiatives that risk undermining or the political progress achieved thanks to the political dialogue.”

Late last month, fighting erupted in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, when rival factions exchanged intense gunfire and several loud explosions rang out across the city. More than 30 people were killed as a result of the clashes.

The oil-rich country has been wracked by conflict and political strife since a Nato-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The current standoff pits the Government of National Unity, led by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, against the administration of Fathi Bashagha, based in the country’s east.

Tensions have been brewing since December after Libya failed to hold elections, with Dbeibah – who was selected in an interim capacity to lead a UN-backed political transition – insisting he would only hand over power to an elected government.

In response, Bashagha has spent months trying to install his government in Tripoli.

Bashagha, backed by eastern-based military strongman Khalifa Haftar, attempted to enter Tripoli in May, leading to a shootout and his departure from the city. Since then, however, a series of deals have brought realignments of some armed factions within the main coalitions facing off around Tripoli.

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