Libya’s eastern administration on Tuesday officially handed over power to a new executive that is meant to unify the war-torn country and steer it towards elections late this year.
The Government of National Unity (GNU), selected through a UN-supported process, is the latest internationally-backed bid to end a decade of chaos in the oil-rich Maghrebi country and unite rival administrations.
Led by interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, the GNU replaces both the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and a parallel cabinet headquartered in the Cyrenaica region.
The key eastern region has been under the de facto control of the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
Tuesday’s handover of power took place at the seat of the parallel eastern government, headed until now by Abdallah Thinni, in Libya’s second city Benghazi.
Libya's eastern administration officially hands over power to new unity government https://t.co/QfGbE8X6th— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) March 23, 2021
Hussein Attiya Gotrani, one of Dbeibah’s two deputy premiers and several ministers who had come from the capital Tripoli, including Interior Minister Khaled Mazen, represented the GNU.
“The period of division is over,” Gotrani was quoted by local media as saying. “The Government of National Unity is at the service of all Libyans, whatever their region.”
Libya descended into conflict after longtime ruler Muammar Gadhafi was toppled and killed in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011. Thereafter an array of forces has battled to fill the void.
Dbeibah was sworn in last week after parliament approved his cabinet in a move hailed by key leaders and foreign powers as “historic”.
#Libya’s eastern administration officially hands over power to the Government of National Unity (GNU), selected through a UN-recognised process to unify the war-torn country and steer it towards elections late this year https://t.co/Gff24hvepu pic.twitter.com/v5H6l84OBy— Radio EastMed (@RadioEastmed) March 23, 2021
The interim executive faces daunting challenges to unify the country’s institutions, end a decade of fighting marked by international interference and prepare for elections on December 24.
The handover came a week after Fayez al-Sarraj, the outgoing head of the western-based GNA, formally ceded power to the new unity administration.
Sarraj and the GNA had never won the support of the eastern-based authorities.
Field Marshal Haftar has not officially taken part in the political negotiations.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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