UN-backed government moves to secure control in Libya

The Wall Street Journal reports: Libya’s United Nations-backed unity government moved Wednesday to consolidate political control of the country, hours after a rival administration dissolved itself after years of factional power struggles.

A newly established advisory council for the country’s prime minister elected Adbulrahman Swehli as chairman, as the unity government sought to bolster its authority following the announcement late Tuesday by Tripoli’s self-declared administration that it was stepping down.

The decision by the Tripoli administration to disband is a major step forward in attempts by the U.N. and the U.S. and other foreign powers to restore a semblance of stability in Libya and blunt the growth of Islamic State, which has exploited the chaos in the North African nation and gained a foothold along its Mediterranean coast, a stone’s throw from Europe.

Libya has been split by rival legislatures since 2014, with an Islamist-leaning parliament in the capital Tripoli, known as the General National Congress, and an internationally-recognized parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk called the House of Representatives.

In a statement late Tuesday, Khalifa al-Ghwell, head of the General National Congress, said his administration was ceasing its activities to “preserve the higher interests of the country and prevent bloodshed and divisions.” [Continue reading…]

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