0122 GMT January 18, 2021
Lawmakers from Libya’s rival factions signed the UN-backed deal at a ceremony in the Moroccan resort of Skhirat on Thursday in an effort to end the chaos in Libya and prevent the Daesh terrorist group from strengthening its foothold in the country.
United Nations envoy Martin Kobler described the agreement as a “first step” toward the restoration of calm to Libya, adding, however, that much remains to be done to end the turmoil in Libya, which has become a safe haven for extremist groups and human traffickers.
“This is just the beginning of a long journey for Libya. Signing is only the first step on the road to putting Libya back on the right track,” the UN envoy said at the signing ceremony, adding, “The door is always open to those who are not here today. The new government must move urgently to address the concerns of those who feel marginalized.”
Libya’s “social fabric, national unity and territorial integrity is directly endangered by the forces of extremism and terrorism,” Kobler said, stressing that Daesh is actively seeking to extend its influence in the country beyond areas it now controls, mostly in the northern city of Sirte.
The accord came despite a warning from the heads of the two rival parliaments that the deal has no legitimacy, and that the politicians signing the agreement represent only themselves.
The international community and regional countries have urged rival factions in Libya to comply with the deal and lay down arms.
Under the UN proposal, a nine-member presidential council, comprised of a prime minister, five deputy prime ministers and three senior ministers, will govern Libya.
Libya has been struggling with instability since 2011, when the country’s then dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, was overthrown and armed groups as well as regional factions engaged in a conflict.
The capital Tripoli is controlled by a political faction called Libya Dawn allied with powerful armed forces based in the city of Misrata. The faction has reinstated the old parliament, known as the General National Congress (GNC), in the capital.
The internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni, meanwhile, is based in the eastern city of Bayda, with its elected House of Representatives in Tobruk.