UN envoy calls for 'unification' of Libyan state bodies

By Yosra Ouanes

TUNIS (AA) – UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame on Wednesday urged Libyans to work towards unifying the troubled country’s state institutions.

Addressing reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with Tunisian Foreign Minister Khamis al-Jehinawi in Tunis, Salame said Libyans themselves must help decide the country’s political fate.

Salame made the remarks one day before he is slated to submit a report to the UN Security Council on the results of the world body’s recent efforts to resolve the years-long crisis in Libya.

In September, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya announced that the various parties to the Libyan crisis had agreed on a plan calling for the withdrawal of all armed groups from capital Tripoli.

On Nov. 12 and 13, the Italian city of Palermo is set to host an international conference on Libya attended by Libyan political groups based both at home and abroad.

Following their meeting on Wednesday, Salame and al-Jehinawi both voiced hope that the Palermo summit would be a step towards finding a peaceful solution to the country’s ongoing crisis.

Libya has remained dogged by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of long-serving President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.

Since then, Libya’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power — one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli — and a host of heavily armed militia groups of divergent loyalties.