UN envoy expects announcement of Libyan unity government Thursday

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Cairo (dpa) – The United Nations envoy on Libya, Bernardino Leon, expects the announcement of a Libyan national unity government on Thursday, a major step in efforts to end anarchy in the country.

“We hope that tomorrow [Thursday] at the latest to be able to announce this unity government,” Leon said late Wednesday in Morocco, where Libya’s rival factions have held on-and-off negotiations in recent months.

He ruled out modifications to a UN-brokered peace deal as requested by the General National Congress (GNC), one of two rival parliaments in Libya.

The GNC had missed a Wednesday deadline for proposing names for the unity government.

“But we have decided to go on and we will continue working on the formation of this unity government, and hopefully [on Thursday], we will be able to propose this government,” Leon added.

Libya has descended into violence since longtime dictator Moamer Gaddafi was ousted in 2011.

The country is torn between two rival administrations – the Islamist-backed GNC based in the capital Tripoli, and an internationally recognised government based in Tobruk in the east.

Leon had previously said that an agreement should be reached before October 20, marking the end of the Tobruk parliament’s mandate.

On Monday, the House of Representatives or the Tobruk parliament, voted to extend its mandate beyond that date, saying it fears a power vacuum in the country.

The Islamic State extremist militia has taken advantage of chaos in Libya to establish a foothold in the oil-rich country.

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