Libya – Conflict – Politics

Libya Unity Government Bolsters Control despite Setback

Libya Unity Government Bolsters Control despite Setback
Thu Apr 7, 2016 23:11:41

Libya’s new unity leaders worked to tighten their hold on Tripoli Thursday, taking over the website of a rival authority in the capital whose head is refusing to stand aside.

A week after arriving by sea with a naval escort, the UN-backed unity cabinet appears to be winning the support of key institutions that control Libya’s wealth and, crucially, militias in the capital.

But a call by Tripoli's unrecognized Prime Minister Khalifa Ghweil on Wednesday for his ministers not to cede power, contradicting an earlier announcement, highlighted the still-chaotic situation.

It was unclear how much influence Ghweil, an engineer from the port city of Misrata east of Tripoli, still wields in the largely tribal nation.

Libya’s warring rivals have come under intense international pressure to rally behind the unity government at a time when the country is grappling with a growing terrorist threat.

The Islamic State (Daesh / ISIS / ISIL) group has exploited the turmoil in Libya since the overthrow of Dictator Moamer Kadhafi five years ago, raising fears that it is establishing a new stronghold on Europe’s doorstep.

In a sign of its widening influence, the UN-sponsored administration of prime minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj took over the website of the unrecognized Tripoli authorities on Thursday.

The site now bears the logo of the unity government, and the names of Ghweil’s cabinet have been replaced by those of a presidential council created under a power-sharing deal in December.

That agreement was inked by some lawmakers from both sides but not endorsed by the country’s two rival governments.

The other administration, which has long claimed international legitimacy because it was appointed by the parliament elected in the last polls in 2014, has so far refused to back the unity government, AFP reported.

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