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Libya parliament chief throws UN deal into doubt

AFP  |  Tripoli 

The president of the Libyan parliament that is not recognised by the international community has said that lawmakers preparing to sign a UN- sponsored unity government agreement in Morocco had no legitimacy.

Four years after the fall of dictator Moamer Kadhafi, world powers have been pressuring the North African nation's two rival administrations to form a unity government amid concerns about the rise of the Islamic State group there.

Libyan parliamentarians are due in the Moroccan resort of Skhirat today to sign the deal in a ceremony a Moroccan diplomat said would take place at 1630 IST.

But Nouri Abusahmein, who heads the Islamist militia-backed General National Congress in Tripoli, said the signatories would have no legitimacy.

"Whoever has not been commissioned by the GNC to sign or initial a deal on its behalf is, and will remain, without legitimacy," he said yesterday before the GNC in the capital.

A government such as that proposed by the United Nations "is not the subject of consensus and does not even guarantee the minimum required to ensure its effectiveness", he added.

Martin Kobler, the UN envoy to Libya, said the Moroccan ceremony would proceed as planned.

"A large number of Libyan participants and high-level international participants, including many foreign ministers, have committed to attend," Kobler said in a statement.

On Tuesday in Malta, Abusahmein met Aguila Saleh who heads the internationally recognised parliament based in Tobruk in the east near the border with Egypt.

It was the first time they had met since the rival administrations were formed in 2014.

At a joint conference, both men said that those who sign the agreement represent only themselves.

They said today's signatories, although members of the respective parliaments, would not be acting as official representatives of those bodies.

"I take note of the meeting" between the two men in Malta, Kobler's statement said.

"The United Nations encourages all Libyan efforts to end the current divisions through inclusive dialogue, and I will continue to actively engage with all Libyans to that end," he added.

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First Published: Thu, December 17 2015. 03:13 IST
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