Libya’s western-backed parliament ‘rejects’ UN proposal

Lawmakers from Tobruk based government reject UN-sponsored unity deal with rival parliament in setback to peace efforts.

Bernardino Leon
The special UN envoy for Libya, Bernardino Leon, announced the proposal on October 8 [AP]

Lawmakers from Libya’s internationally recognised government say a UN proposal for a power-sharing arrangement with rival Islamist-led authorities has been rejected.

The internationally recognised parliament will not sign the agreement to form a unity government because the UN refused to exclude amendments added by the Islamist authorities without its consent, Farraj Abu Hashem told The Associated Press on Monday.

The House of Representatives, based in the far eastern city of Tobruk, rejected the UN deal proposed by UN envoy Bernardino Leon after a stormy eight-hour session, lawmaker Aisa Aribi told DPA news agency.

The parliament rejected the latest version of the UN peace plan, demanding a return to an earlier draft, Aribi said.

Deputy Abdul-Mutallib Thabit, quoted by Libyan news site al-Wasat, confirmed that the parliament had rejected the prime minister and deputy prime ministers proposed by Leon.

The development came on the eve of a Tuesday deadline set by the envoy for Libya’s two rival parliaments and governments to sign off on the deal.

The UN Security Council called on Friday on all parties to approve the agreement, warning that those undermining “the successful conclusion” of Libya’s transition process could face sanctions.

However, the Tobruk based parliament said it would continue to take part in UN-backed peace talks with its rivals, based in the capital, Tripoli.

Arab states back UN deal

The United Nations proposed a national unity government to the warring factions this month, suggesting six candidates for key posts.

Meanwhile, Western and Arab states issued a joint declaration on Monday urging rival sides to accept the UN proposals “immediately” to end rampant instability in the country.

The statement was published jointly by the foreign ministers of Algeria, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, Qatar, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States as well as the EU foreign policy chief, AFP news agency reported.

They “call on all parties in the Libyan political dialogue to immediately adopt the political agreement negotiated by the Special Representative to the United Nations, Mr (Bernardino) Leon,” it reads.

Libya slid into chaos after the 2011 toppling and killing of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Islamic law

Leon, the special UN envoy for Libya, announced the proposal along with a list of candidates to head the new body on October 8.

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said Leon has made clear “that this is the final text”.

“We are not reopening the text and our hope remains that all sides will agree to the text for the good of the people of Libya,” Haq said.

The amendments that angered the Tobruk lawmakers would have given the unity government the power to fire all senior Libyan officials not unanimously approved by its members.

The Tobruk government saw this as an attempt to remove their fiercely anti-Islamist army chief, General Khalifa Hifter, whose forces have been battling armed fighters nationwide for over a year, government spokesman Ali Tekbali said.

The Islamist-led government did not officially reject the deal, but said “signing it would lead to further complications” in a statement issued on Monday.

The Tripoli government objects to the deal because it does not provide sufficient guarantees that Islamic law will be implemented, members of the Islamist parliament said on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to brief reporters.

Both governments have slammed Leon for announcing candidates for the unity government when they had not agreed on forming one yet.

Source: News Agencies


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