EU appeals to Libya parliament to endorse unity government

Sunday 24/04/2016
Apostolova: Libyan people need to see change

TRIPOLI - The head of the EU delegation to Libya appealed to the country's parliament to endorse the new unity government as soon as possible, during a visit to Tripoli on Tuesday.
Nataliya Apostolova called on lawmakers to take "responsibility" so that the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) can assume power, "because the Libyan people need to see a change".
"As an international community we are calling on them (parliament) to convene a session ASAP because the Libyan people deserve to have the strong leadership of the Government of National Accord which is endorsed by them," she said.
"We already recognised the government and we are working with the government but nevertheless we would like this procedure to be completed," Apostolova told a news conference at the Tripoli naval base used by the unity government.
It is the EU diplomat's first visit to Libya since the formation of the GNA in a UN-brokered power-sharing deal in December.
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 jihadist threat.
Libya was left with two rival administrations after a militia alliance took over Tripoli in mid-2014, setting up its own authority and forcing the elected parliament to flee to Tobruk in the country's far east.
Prime minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj's cabinet has taken control of eight government ministries including foreign affairs as it seeks to assert its authority over the violence-plagued country.
But the GNA has still not been endorsed by a vote of confidence from the internationally recognised parliament in Tobruk.
On Thursday, 102 lawmakers of the Tobruk assembly -- a majority -- expressed confidence in the new government in a statement despite the lack of a formal vote.
The EU last week offered support to the GNA to boost the economy and security, including training for the Libyan coastguard to stem the influx of migrants across the Mediterranean.
Apostolova said she had discussed during her talks in Tripoli ways to help the GNA "to build and train a real Libyan army, police and security forces".
Her visit is the latest in a series by European diplomats who had been absent since 2014 when EU member states closed their Tripoli embassies as fighting shook the North African nation.