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Sat Sep 24 22:54:42 SAST 2016

UN envoy in Tobruk to 'help' with Libya unity govt vote

AFP | 21 February, 2016 19:39
Kobler held a meeting with parliament speaker Aguila Salah, parliament's website reported. File photo
Image by: ZOUBEIR SOUISSI / REUTERS

UN envoy Martin Kobler travelled to the seat of Libya's internationally recognised parliament Sunday to "help" with a vote of confidence on a national unity government for the crisis-torn country.

"The eyes of the people of Libya are on Tobruk. They expect a GNA. I am here in Tobruk today to help, not to interfere," Kobler tweeted in reference to the hard-fought formation of a government of national unity.

Kobler held a meeting with parliament speaker Aguila Salah, parliament's website reported.

On Saturday, Libya's prime minister-designate, Fayez al-Sarraj, presented the programme of his unity government before the parliament of the internationally recognised government.

"The members of parliament discussed with the Presidential Council the proposed unity government's programme as well as the names of ministers," said LANA news agency, which is close to the recognised authorities.

Debate, which has often been "heated", continued in parliament on Sunday ahead of a vote of confidence expected to take place on Tuesday.

The oil-rich North African country has had rival administrations since the summer of 2014 when the recognised government fled Tripoli after a militia alliance including Islamists overran the capital.

That alliance has established its own administration and parliament called the General National Congress.

The United Nations has been pushing both sides to back a unity government.

A Presidential Council, born of an agreement in December under UN auspices between representatives of the rival parliaments, last Monday proposed the formation of a unity government of 18 members.

Before a confidence vote, the deputies in Tobruk had asked that Sarraj appear before them.

Libya has been torn by strife since Moamer Kadhafi was overthrown and killed in 2011 following a rebellion supported by Western military intervention.

The chaos that has reigned since has allowed the jihadist Islamic State group to establish a foothold, and IS now controls the port city of Sirte and its surroundings.

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