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UN Urges Libyan Support for Unity Government

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FILE - Awad Mohammed Abdul-Sadiq (L), of the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC), and Ibrahim Fethi Amish, from the internationally recognized House of Representatives, sign agreement on ending the political deadlock in Libya, Dec. 6, 2015.

FILE - Awad Mohammed Abdul-Sadiq (L), of the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC), and Ibrahim Fethi Amish, from the internationally recognized House of Representatives, sign agreement on ending the political deadlock in Libya, Dec. 6, 2015.

United Nations officials are urging Libyans to support an agreement among the country's warring factions to create a unity government.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the deal an important step toward resolving the crisis in Libya, which has seen fighting and political chaos since the overthrow of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

The United Nations mediated the agreement at a conference in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, but it remains unclear whether it will draw wide support to end the bloodshed in Libya.

There was no immediate reaction from the country's two legislatures, the internationally recognized government that operates out of Tobruk in eastern Libya and an Islamist-backed government in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Martin Kobler, the head of the U.N. mission in Libya, said "hard work lies ahead" and that Libyans have a "sterling opportunity" to unite and build their country. He called on Libyan lawmakers to endorse the agreement.

Quick ratification urged

European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini also called for quick ratification of the unity government.

"Libya is at a critical juncture and it is crucial that all key political and security actors uphold the interests of their country and its people above all others," Mogherini said.

"Only a united Libyan government, supported by all its citizens, will be able to end political divisions, defeat terrorism, and address the numerous security, humanitarian and economic challenges the country faces," she added.

If the rival governments agree to join forces in the coming days, Fayez Sarraj, a lawmaker in the eastern parliament, is set to become the Libyan prime minister.

The power-sharing deal comes as Islamic State militants are gaining a new foothold in Libya, aiming to take control of the country's oil terminals and fields, Libya's key source of wealth.

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