Libyan Eastern Administration Gives Power to Interim Government | News Khalifa Haftar
The new UN-backed interim government led by Abdul Hamid Dbeibah is supposed to steer Libya towards the elections.
Libya’s eastern administration has officially handed over power to a new executive who is supposed to unify the war-torn country and lead it to elections later this year.
The Government of National Unity (GNU), selected in a process recognized by the UN, is the latest internationally supported attempt to end a decade of chaos in the North African nation and unite administrations rivals.
Led by Acting Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, the GNU replaces both the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and the parallel eastern cabinet based in the Cyrenaica region and unrecognized by the international community .
The handover on Tuesday took place in Libya’s second city, Benghazi, the seat of the eastern administration.
Hussein Attiya al-Gotrani – one of Dbeibah’s two deputy prime ministers – and several ministers from the capital, including Interior Minister Khaled Mazen, represented the GNU, according to reports.
“The period of division is over,” Gotrani said as quoted by local media. “The Government of National Unity is at the service of all Libyans, regardless of their region.”
The transfer came a week after the head of the GNA, Fayez al-Sarraj, formally handed over power to the new unity administration.
Oil-rich Libya was in turmoil when a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled longtime leader Muamer Gaddafi, who was later killed. The sometimes chaotic war between an array of forces attracted several outside powers and a flood of foreign arms and mercenaries.
Al-Sarraj and the GNA never gained the support of the eastern authorities, which were under the de facto control of forces loyal to renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar.
Turkey supported the GNA, while Haftar, who formally took part in recent political negotiations, received support from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, France and Russia.
Dbeibah, 61, was sworn in last week after parliament approved his cabinet in a move hailed by key leaders and foreign powers as “historic.”
The interim executive faces daunting challenges to unify the country’s institutions and prepare for the December 24 elections.
This decision is seen as an important step in bringing peace to the country. The lack of an appropriate transfer of power between lawmakers in 2014 was one of the main factors in the split of Libyan institutions.
Another big challenge is the presence of thousands of foreign forces and mercenaries. Earlier this month, the UN Security Council called on countries with troops and mercenaries in Libya to withdraw them “without delay”.
The UN estimated that there were 20,000 foreign fighters in Libya, including Syrians, Turks, Sudanese and Russians brought to the country by rival sides.