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Libya’s rival parliaments sign UN-backed deal

Libya’s rival parliaments have signed a UN-backed deal to form a unity government at a ceremony in Morocco.

Libya has been locked in conflict since a NATO-backed revolt that overthrew long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi four years ago.

A civil war has seen the emergence of numerous armed groups, forcing several countries to evacuate their citizens and diplomats.

It is hoped the deal will end the years of chaos in Libya.

“This is the beginning of building a new Libya,” Salaheddine Mezouar, Morocco’s foreign minister, declared on Thursday before the signing ceremony in Skhirat, just south of the Moroccan capital Rabat.

UN envoy Martin Kobler had earlier said in a statement that a large number of Libyans present at the ceremony as well as high-level international participants, including many foreign ministers, have committed to the deal.

“The United Nations encourages all Libyan efforts to end the current divisions through inclusive dialogue, and I will continue to actively engage with all Libyans to that end,” Kobler said.

Libya’s rivals are mainly split between the General National Congress, based in the capital Tripoli, and the internationally recognised House of Representatives, based further east in Tobruk.

The long-delayed peace agreement envisages a national unity government and an end to infighting between forces loyal to the two competing parliaments.

But even if the pact is eventually signed, powerful armed groups on the ground are unlikely to comply with it because they see as it as biased and as harming their interests, observers have said.


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