Libyan Forum Agrees on Way to Select Transitional Government

Libyan factions approved a method of selecting a new transitional government, a potential watershed for the OPEC member roiled by years of conflict and division.

Some 73% of representatives voting at United Nations-convened political discussions in Geneva backed the proposal, the UN Support Mission in Libya said Tuesday in a statement. While meetings last year led to setting a December 2021 election date, agreeing a mechanism for assembling a unified government to rule until then has hit obstacles.

The North African country has been divided since a NATO-backed uprising ousted dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011, unleashing successive conflicts. Fighting in recent years has pitted the internationally recognized Tripoli-based government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj against eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar, both of whom have received support from competing regional powers.

Forming a unified government could stabilize Libya’s oil output, which was hit by blockades last year that cut the flow to almost nothing before it rebounded to more than 1 million barrels a day as peace efforts progressed.

Disputes over how oil income is divided are also hindering efforts to repair fields, storage tanks and pipelines damaged or neglected during the conflict. The National Oil Corp. had to shut a major pipeline because of leaks on Saturday and warned that other installations may suffer the same fate unless politicians give the company more funds.

The political talks are part of a broader peace-making push that includes military and economic tracks. The initial proposals for the government selection mechanism were made by an advisory committee of Libyan regional representatives involved in the Geneva talks.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday appointed Ján Kubiš, a Slovakian, as his latest special envoy on Libya and head of the support mission.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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