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Libya makes 'first step' towards ending crisis

Friday December 18 2015

Libya's General National Congress deputy president Saleh al-Makzom (right) and head of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives Mohamed Ali Shoeb gesture after signing a deal on a unity government on December 17, 2015, in the Moroccan city of Skhirat. Rival Libyan politicians signed a deal on a unity government despite opposition on both sides, in what the United Nations described as a

Libya's General National Congress deputy president Saleh al-Makzom (right) and head of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives Mohamed Ali Shoeb gesture after signing a deal on a unity government on December 17, 2015, in the Moroccan city of Skhirat. Rival Libyan politicians signed a deal on a unity government despite opposition on both sides, in what the United Nations described as a "first step" towards ending the crisis. PHOTO |FADEL SENNA | AFP  

AFP
By AFP
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SKHIRAT, Morocco

Rival Libyan politicians signed on Thursday a deal on a unity government despite opposition on both sides, in what the United Nations described as a “first step” towards ending the crisis.

World powers have urged the warring factions to break a political deadlock that has allowed jihadists and people-smugglers to flourish since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

A group of lawmakers from Libya’s rival parliaments, as well as other political figures, inked the UN-sponsored accord in the Moroccan resort of Skhirat, an AFP journalist said.

But even within the two legislatures the deal has caused deep divisions.

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The heads of both parliaments have warned that the agreement has no legitimacy and the politicians signing the agreement represented only themselves.

UN envoy Martin Kobler acknowledged that much remained to be done to end the turmoil.

“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,” he said at the ceremony.

“The door is always open to those who are not here today (Thursday). The new government must move urgently to address the concerns of those who feel marginalised.”

The signing follows a gathering in Rome of a US- and Italian-led group of world powers and regional players that called on the two sides Sunday to lay down their arms and back a new unity government.

Nouri Abusahmein, who heads the militia-backed General National Congress in Tripoli that is not recognised by the international community, said Wednesday that the signatories did not represent the parliaments.