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UN Envoy: Libyan Unity Government Could Be Named This Week

  • VOA News

FILE - Libyan soldiers take a break from fighting with militants on the frontline in Al Ajaylat, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Tripoli, in this Feb. 21, 2015 photo.

FILE - Libyan soldiers take a break from fighting with militants on the frontline in Al Ajaylat, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Tripoli, in this Feb. 21, 2015 photo.

The first members of a potential unity government in Libya could be named in the coming days, according to the U.N.'s envoy to Libya.

"There is a chance that we can make progress and have the first names for a unity government this week," envoy Bernardino Leon told reporters Monday in Brussels.

He cautioned not to set expectations too high given the "difficult situation" on the ground in Libya.

Leon said Sunday that despite fierce fighting around the Libyan capital, Tripoli, U.N.-led peace talks in Morocco would be extended for two more days.

Western leaders say the U.N. talks are the only way to end the chaos in Libya, where the two rival governments and armed factions are battling for control, and Islamist militants have gained ground in the resulting mayhem.

The United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain say they “are deeply concerned about the growing threat from terrorist groups in Libya.”

A joint statement released late Saturday by the U.S. State Department said the six nations urge quick agreement on a National Unity Government and on the implementation of a speedy cease-fire.

A meeting of Libyan municipalities hosted by the European Union will be held in Brussels Monday and Tuesday.

Meanwhile, military forces aligned with Libya's internationally recognized government shot down a warplane Monday flown by airmen linked to the rival Tripoli-based government allied with Islamist militias.

Libya's Tobruk-based government said the fighter jet flown by the rival Dawn of Libya militia was shot down in western Libya after it had bombed targets in the western city of Zintan supportive of the elected government.

A Tobruk spokesman said the pilot burned to death in the plane and army troops surrounded the wreckage of the aircraft.

Also on Monday, the elected government said it launched an airstrike that targeted Islamist militia in Tarhouna. At least four civilians were killed in the fighting.

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