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UN talks produce new interim government for Libya

UN-sponsored talks on Libya have resulted in a new interim government for the war-ravaged North African country.

An agreement was reached between the sides on Friday, with the aim of resolving a decade of division and violence by holding national elections later this year.

Under the deal, 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.

Oil-rich Libya has been engulfed in chaos since a NATO-backed intervention ended Muammar Gaddafi’s four-decade rule in 2011. Since 2014, the country has been split between warring administrations backed by foreign powers in the west and east.

“My appeal to everybody is to recognize and accept these results and to work with the new authorities that were elected,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the parties on Friday.

Analysts say with many Libyan factions wary of surrendering influence they already hold, and with foreign powers invested in local allies, the new government may rapidly come under pressure.

They also note that the appointment of a new government may do little to change the balance of military power on the ground, where armed groups rule the streets and factions remain split between east and west.

The new government team is seen as surprise winners of a leadership contest against three other groups of candidates presented to the seventy-five  Libyan participants picked by the UN to take part in political talks.

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