Libya's internationally recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj is seen during an interview with Reuters at his office in Tripoli. Picture taken June 16, 2019. File picture: Reuters
Libya's internationally recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj is seen during an interview with Reuters at his office in Tripoli. Picture taken June 16, 2019. File picture: Reuters

Libya’s UN recognised PM wants to hand over power next month

By DPA Time of article published Sep 17, 2020

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By Badr Mohammed and Ashraf Azabi

Tripoli – Fayez al-Serraj, the prime minister of Libya's internationally recognised government, said on Wednesday he intends to hand over power by the end of October.

"I declare my sincere intention to hand over the tasks of power to the coming executive authority in a time no later than October," al-Serraj, the head of the UN-recognized government of National Accord (GNA), said in televised speech.

He said the political and social situation in Libya was in a state of severe polarization, making all attempts to reach a political settlement to prevent bloodshed difficult.

The premier added that recent UN-sponsored consultations between Libyan rivals have led to a new preparatory phase to unify state institutions and to pave the way for parliamentary and presidential elections.

Meanwhile, the United Nations and the German government were planning another Libya summit, to be held online on October 5, a UN spokesman confirmed to dpa in New York.

In addition to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, a number of foreign ministers and representatives of the conflicting parties in the war-torn country are also to take part.

The new push comes on the heels of a summit organized in Berlin in January which brought together almost all the countries involved in the Libyan conflict. There, they promised to stop supplying the warring factions with weapons and fighters.

The virtual meeting in October is to expected to again include representatives from Germany and the UN, the United States, Britain, France, China, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the Republic of Congo, Italy, Egypt and Algeria as well as the European Union, the African Union and the Arab League.

Promises at the January Libya summit have not been kept. Several countries had vowed to stop supplying the warring factions with weapons and fighters, but arms supplies have not halted and neither has the fighting. Even the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has not put a stop to the war.

The summit's final declaration has hardly been implemented to this day. The UN has primarily registered violations of the arms embargo by Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.

Al-Serraj is the head of the Tripoli-based Presidency Council, established by a UN-brokered political agreement signed in December 2015. The council presides over a government in Tripoli, with al-Serraj serving as prime minister.

Libya has been in turmoil since the 2011 overthrow of dictator Moamer Gaddafi and has become a battleground for rival proxy forces.

The oil-rich country has two competing administrations: the GNA in Tripoli and a government based in the eastern city of Tobruk, which is allied with commander Khalifa Haftar.

Haftar has been laying siege to Tripoli in a bid to seize it from the GNA since April 2019.

In recent months, Libyans have increasingly suffered from frequent power outages and short water supplies.

In the capital Tripoli, hundreds of demonstrators on Sunday gathered outside the headquarters of the Presidential Council, denouncing lack of basic services and calling for long-delayed elections to be held in the North African country.

Also, protests in the country's east, controlled by Haftar, prompted the government led by Abdullah al-Thanni to offer its resignation on Sunday.

Reporting by: Badr Mohammed and Ashraf Azabi in Tripoli and Amr Mostafa in Cairo, Benno Schwinghammer in New York - Editing by: Chiara Palazzo,

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