Libya nominates members of proposed national unity government

TUNIS, Tunisia,  Members of a Libyan national unity government were named in Tunis on Tuesday as part of a United Nations-mediated deal aimed at ending bloodshed in the North African country.

Protesters wave a Libyan flag during an anti-militia march in Benghazi, Libya, on September 22, 2012. On January 19, 2016, a council in Tunis nominated 32 members of a proposed national unity government in Libya that the United Nations hopes will merge rival factions in the North African country. File photo by Tariq AL-hun/ UPI | License Photo














The BBC reported the 32 names will be sent for approval to the internationally recognized parliament in Tobruk, Libya.

After former leader Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown in 2011, Libya’s rebel groups turned against one another and formed competing governments in the east and west of the country: the government in Tobruk and the General National Congress in Tripoli.

The nominations follow a U.N.-brokered deal last month that saw the rival governments agree to form a new and unified cabinet. As part of the deal, a Tunis-based Presidency Council — featuring the prime minister, his five deputies and three ministers of state — was formed to create the new government.

However, only seven of the council’s members signed off on the Tuesday nominations, leading a source close to Deputy Prime Minister Ali Algetrani to tell the BBC that the proposed cabinet was “illegitimate.”

The U.N. is urging the GNC and officials in Tobruk to endorse the nominations, but multiple politicians and armed groups are opposed to a unity government. Neither governing body endorsed a previous U.N. power-sharing deal in October.

If approved, the new government will be headed by Fayez Sarraj, a lawmaker in the eastern parliament.

In January 2015, the GNC and the Tobruk government agreed to a U.N.-backed cease-fire, but several militant groups not aligned with either governing body — including an Islamic State affiliate — did not recognize the deal.

“Only a united Libyan government, supported by all its citizens, will be able to end political divisions, defeat terrorism, and address the numerous security, humanitarian and economic challenges the country faces,” Voice of America quotedEuropean Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini as saying.

By Fred Lambert