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New transitional government agreed in UN-backed Libya talks

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This handout picture, taken and released by the United Nations (UN), shows a delegate casting his vote for the new interim government during a meeting of the Libyan Political Dialog Forum in Chavannes de Bogis, near Geneva, Switzerland, on February 5, 2021. (Via AFP)

United Nations (UN)-brokered talks between Libyan factions have resulted in an agreement on a new interim government for Libya, marking a step toward ending a decade of conflict in the North African country.

Libyan delegates at the UN-facilitated talks in Switzerland on Friday chose Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, a businessman from the western city of Misrata, as Libya’s new prime minister.

A three-member presidential council was also elected at the end of five days of talks, which took place within a framework known as the Libyan Political Dialog Forum.

The council will be headed by Mohammed al-Menfi, a former diplomat from Benghazi. It also includes Musa al-Koni, from the south, and Abdullah al-Lafi, from the west.

The Libyan Political Dialog Forum was comprised of 75 participants picked by the UN.

“On behalf of the United Nations, I am pleased to witness this historic moment,” said UN envoy for Libya Stephanie Williams after the agreement was declared. “The importance of the decision that you have taken here today will grow with the passage of time in the collective memory of the Libyan people.”

The voting process was aired live by the UN.

All candidates for the new government vowed to honor a plan to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24, and gave written pledges. None of them will be allowed to run for office.

Libya first plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The country has been split since 2014 between two rival seats of power, formerly an internationally-recognized government, and another group based in the eastern city of Tobruk, protected by armed rebels.

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