GENEVA / VALLETTA / LONDON, Feb 5 (CDE / Reuters) – A U.N.-led Libya forum on Friday selected an interim government via a vote, choosing Mohammed al-Menfi as presidency council head and Abdulhamid Dbeibeh as prime minister.
Their list won with 39 votes versus 34 for their rivals: eastern-based parliament chief Aguila Saleh and western-based interior minister Fathi Bashagha as prime minister.
“On behalf of the United Nations I am pleased to witness this historic moment,” said U.N. acting Libya envoy Stephanie Williams, who was interrupted by applause.
Mohammed al-Menfi, a former diplomat from Benghazi, will head a three-man presidency council, while Abdulhamid Dbeibeh, from the western city of Misrata, will head the government as prime minister.
Libya has been engulfed in chaos since a NATO-backed intervention ended Muammar Gaddafi’s four-decade rule in 2011 and has been split since 2014 between warring administrations backed by foreign powers in the west and east.
However, with many factions in the country afraid to surrender influence they already hold, and with foreign powers invested in local allies, the new government may rapidly come under pressure.
U.N. chief calls on everyone to respect new Libya interim government
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday welcomed the formation of a new interim government for Libya and called on all Libyan and international parties to respect result.
“My appeal to everybody is to recognize and accept these results and to work with the new authorities that were elected,” Guterres told reporters. “It is absolutely essential to unify Libya, and to move onwards on the way to peace.”
Western powers welcome Libyan interim government
France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the United States welcomed an agreement to form a newinterim government for Libya on Friday, saying a “long roadstill lies ahead”.
Calling the formation of a new interim government a”critical step”, the nations said in a joint statement releasedin London there was much to be done.
“The unified executive authority will have to implement theceasefire agreement, provide essential public services to theLibyan people, initiate a program for meaningful reconciliation,address critical national budget needs, and organize national elections,” they said.
Turkey welcomes new interim government in Libya
The Turkish foreign ministry said on Friday it welcomed the selection of a new Libya interim government via U.N. sponsored talks adding it would continue to provide support until national elections later this year.
In a statement, the ministry also said the selection of the interim government was a significant opportunity in terms of establishing political unity and protection ofLibya’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
Malta’s Foreign Minister augurs new government is a new dawn for Libya
The Maltese minister for Foreign Affairs, Evarist Bartolo, welcomed the new developments in Libya and augured that this is a new dawn for the Libyan people. Neighbouring Malta’s minister said that the most crucial thing is that the new leadership will be able to form a government which will bring a new page for the country and which will help the people of the country overcome the hardships that the conflict brought. ‘The Libyans deserve the chance to be able to live in peace and prosper. There are over 1,000,000 persons who are at risk of, or live in poverty. One third of these are children,” he said. There are over 304,000 immigrants and 44,000 refugees. Minister Bartolo said that a lot of the country’s hospitals were destroyed during the war and there is a lack of medicine.
“I wish the people of Libya the peace they deserve,” he added.