Libya unity govt set for key vote

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (L) attends a press conference with Ahmed Maiteeq (R), Libyan deputy prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA), and Mohammad al-Ammari (C), a member of the GNA, in Tripoli on April 18, 2016. Hammond arrived on a surprise visit to Tripoli, the media advisor for the Government of National Accord said, as the UN-backed government took control of three ministries in the latest step to assert its authority. / AFP PHOTO / Mahmud TURKIA


Tripoli / AFP

Libya’s parliament was set on Monday for a crucial confidence vote on a new unity government, as Britain’s Philip Hammond became the latest top diplomat to land in Tripoli in support of the UN-backed administration.
Hammond flew into Tripoli on a surprise trip, hot on the heels of visits last week by the foreign ministers of Italy, France and Germany in support of the unity government. The international community has been keen to support Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) as the best hope for resolving years of chaos, and European Union ministers were Monday to discuss economic and security projects to back it.
The turmoil in oil-rich Libya since the 2011 ouster and killing of MoamerKadhafi has sparked widespread alarm in the West.
The expansion of the IS group in Libya, where the extremists have set up a bastion just 300 kilometres (185 miles) away from Italy across the Mediterranean, has been a major cause of concern. Another has been the increased flow of illegal migrants from Libya into Europe, as people smugglers feed on the country’s chaos.
The GNA, led by prime minister-designate Fayez Sarraj, has been working to assert its authority after landing in Tripoli earlier this month.
The unity government, formed under a power-sharing deal agreed by some Libyan lawmakers in December, is to take power from rival administrations that have been vying for control of the country.

Govt to take over
Libya’s internationally recognised parliament, based in the eastern city of Tobruk, was to hold a confidence vote in the government later on Monday—a crucial step in cementing its authority.
Lawmaker Mohammad Al Raeedsaid that by midday 160 of the legislature’s 198 deputies had arrived in Tobruk for a session that was to begin around 1130 GMT. The UN’s Libya envoy Martin Kobler was in Tobruk for the vote and said in a tweet he was “encouraged” by the presence of “many” deputies.
Ahead of the vote, officials said Hammond had arrived for talks with Sarraj and would later hold a news conference.

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