Libya announces new unity government under UN plan

Announcement follows hotly contested deal struck between Tobruk and Tripoli governments.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini , left, meets Libyan prime minister Fayez Sarraj in Tunis Tunisia
The UN-backed deal was brokered in Tunisia, though many members of both Libyan parliaments rejected the terms [AP]

Libya’s Presidential Council has announced a new government of national accord aimed at uniting the country’s warring factions under a United Nations-backed plan.

The Tunis-based council had pushed back the deadline for naming the government by 48 hours, amid reports of disputes over the distribution of ministerial posts, before Tuesday’s announcement came.

Inside story – Are Libyan groups forced to sign UN-brokered deal?

Only seven of the council’s nine members had signed the document, which named a total of 32 ministers, including one female. 

The UN hopes that the new government will be able to deliver stability and tackle a growing threat from fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

Libya has become deeply fractured since two rival governments were formed in the summer of 2014, with one operating from the capital Tripoli and the other from the eastern city of Tobruk.

Many members of Libya’s competing parliaments did not back the agreement, and critics say that the plan does not evenly represent all the country’s groups and factions.

Some critics cite reports that the UN representative who helped broker the agreement, Bernardino Leon, was secretly negotiating a high-paying job with the United Arab Emirates, which backs the Tobruk government.

The agreement still has to be approved by the House of Representatives in Tobruk (which has 10 days to endorse the news government) as well as the General National Congress in Tripoli, which remains divided over the issue. 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies