UN chief urges swift handover of power in Libya


UN chief Ban Ki-moon pleaded on Tuesday for Libya's unity government to be allowed to start work quickly and called for anyone obstructing the peace process to be held accountable. Ban, speaking in Tunisia, called for a UN-backed presidential council to be permitted to work towards "the immediate peaceful and orderly handover of power to the government of national accord."

He also urged Libya's internationally recognised parliament, based in the country's east, "to uphold its responsibilities" in implementing a UN-brokered power-sharing deal announced in December.

"Those obstructing the political process should be held accountable. The Libyan people deserve peace, security and prosperity under a strong, united government," he said.

The power-sharing deal aims to end years of political turmoil in the North African state that has been exploited by jihadists and people-smugglers. But both of Libya's rival authorities – the government backed by the recognised parliament and another supported by armed groups in the capital – have refused to cede power to the unity government.

Tripoli's unrecognised administration on Friday announced a "maximum state of emergency" after the Tunisia-based presidential council said the unity government would soon start working in the capital.

World powers are pressing all sides in the Libyan conflict to accept the UN-brokered deal, amid concerns the Islamic State jihadist group is gaining influence in the country. Western nations are openly considering a military intervention against the extremists.

"There are many countries who really wish that Libya now establishes the government of national accord so that we can help them, so that they can establish their country with peace and security," Ban said. "Terrorism poses a great threat not only in Libya and Tunisia but all around the world as we have seen in the past few days in Belgium, Iraq and Pakistan. We need a united global approach".    (AFP)

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