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UN Announces Libya Unity Government    10/09 06:30

   SKHIRAT, Morocco (AP) -- The U.N. envoy for Libya has proposed a national 
unity government for Libya after months of difficult talks between the north 
African country's two rival governments, but now it's up to the two parliaments 
and Libyans themselves to approve it.

   Bernardino Leon told a news conference late Thursday that the names of 
candidates for the national unity government have been decided.

   The announcement is a step toward stitching together the oil-rich but 
chaotic country that fell apart after the overthrow of former dictator Moammar 
Gadhafi in 2011. The country has been split between an Islamist-backed 
government based in Tripoli and an internationally recognized government in the 
country's east.

   Though the U.N. reported Thursday's news in a tweet saying "Bernardino Leon 
announcing now formation of Government of National Accord," more work remains. 
Negotiators who attended the peace talks representing the rival governments 
approved the names of candidates, but the parliaments for both sides must 
approve them, too.

   It was not immediately clear whether both camps were fully behind the list 
of candidates, especially with the Tripoli-based government split between 
hard-liners and a more conciliatory faction.

   Leon said the proposed prime minister for the new government is Fayez 
Sarraj, a member of the Tripoli-based parliament.

   "We believe this list can work," Leon said of the names, which include three 
deputies for the prime minister --- representing the country's east, west and 
south --- and two ministers to complete a presidential council.

   "All of them will work as a team," Leon said. He added, "This was not an 
easy task."

   Mussa al-Kouni, one of the proposed deputy prime ministers, said: "The 
hardest part has just begun."

   Naima Jibril, a judge and member of the Libyan National Dialogue Commission, 
praised the inclusion of two women ministers in the list. "Libyan women are 
capable of playing successful roles in future government," she said.

   The U.N. envoy had expected to announce a national unity government 
Wednesday, just the latest in a series of deadlines the U.N. and the 
international community had been pushing the rival governments to meet in 
recent months.

   Last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.N. Secretary-General Ban 
Ki-moon and others at a high-level U.N. meeting urged the governments to act 
quickly and reach a deal, warning that the instability in the country was 
giving room for extremist groups like the Islamic State to expand.

   In addition, Libya's chaos has opened the door to a surge of migrants and 
refugees who set off from its coast in often rickety boats operated by 
smugglers. Many have died on the journey.

   The peace talks have been fragile. On Monday, the internationally recognized 
government voted to extend its mandate past the Oct. 20 deadline that was part 
of a political roadmap sketched out after Gadhafi was overthrown, signaling a 
lack of confidence in the U.N.'s efforts.

   A new unity government has multiple challenges, including an economy near 
collapse, a number of active militia groups and severe needs for basic 

   The U.N. says an estimated 2.44 million people in Libya --- nearly 40 
percent of the country's population --- are in need of protection and some form 
of humanitarian aid.

   "I think there is no better chance, and there is no alternative to this 
approach and to this sort of government, which tries to balance a lot of 
different interests," said the British ambassador to Libya, Peter Millet. "So I 
appeal again to the Libyan people to get behind it and give it the best 
possible chance for success."


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