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UN Envoy in Libya Announces Proposal for Unity Government

  • VOA News

United Nations envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon speaks to the media in Skhirat, Morocco, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015.

United Nations envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon speaks to the media in Skhirat, Morocco, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015.

The U.N. envoy for Libya has announced the proposal of a new unity government for the divided nation in what could be a key step toward ending four years of chaos and political turmoil.

"We believe [this government] can succeed," Bernardino Leon said Friday in Morocco as he announced the proposal. "The Libyans must seize this historic opportunity to save Libya."

Under the plan, a member of the Tripoli-based parliament, Fayez Sarraj, was named prime minister. He would have three deputies. Six ministers would make up a presidential council.

The proposed unity government still faces significant hurdles. Rival parliaments in Tripoli and in the east must approve the unity government. Warring militia groups on both sides must also agree.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the announcement and urged all of Libya's political parties to quickly endorse the agreement.

"After months of turmoil and uncertainty, the secretary-general urges Libyan leaders not to squander this opportunity to put the country back on the path to building a state that reflects the spirit and ambitions of the 2011 revolution," Ban said.

Libya has been split between an Islamist government that seized Tripoli and set up its own administration, and the internationally-recognized government which fled to the east.

The chaos has led to violence, terrorism and a collapsed oil industry.

The United States and other world powers have urged Libya to quickly agree to a unity government before Islamic State and other terror groups can take full advantage of the situation.

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