Libya delays announcing new government members

Published January 18th, 2016 - 01:48 GMT

The body tasked with naming a unity government for Libya under a UN-backed agreement to resolve the country’s armed conflict has delayed announcing the government’s members by 48 hours.

The Presidential Council said in a statement released late on Saturday that it had made “great progress” since beginning discussions on January 1, but needed two more days to complete its work without giving any details.

The continuing delay of the deal by opposition forces within Libya signals the challenges in trying to unite factions and militias that have competed for power following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

UN special envoy to Libya Martin Kobler said in a tweet that he “regretted” the delay. “Libya can no longer wait,” he said.

Since the summer of 2014, Libya has had two rival governments and parliaments, which operate from the capital Tripoli and from the east. Both are backed by loose alliances of armed brigades of rebels who once fought Gaddafi.

The deal struck in Morocco on December 17 gave the Tunis-based Presidential Council one month to name a Government of National Accord, which Western powers hope will be able to deliver stability to Libya and tackle a growing threat from Daesh militants.

But the presidents of Libya’s competing parliaments and many deputies did not back the agreement, which has been fiercely opposed by some groups within the country.

It is also unclear when and how a new government will be able to establish itself in Libya.

Tripoli is controlled by a faction called Libya Dawn, and the head of the self-declared government that it backs said on Saturday that preparations by the Presidential Council to secure the capital violated military law.

Prime Minister Khalifa al-Ghwell wrote to the attorney general instructing him to investigate 16 out of 18 members of a security committee recently named by the Presidential Council, urging swift legal action against them.

Once the new government’s membership is announced, the internationally recognized parliament in eastern Libya will have 10 days to approve it.

Editor's note: This article has been edited from the source material

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