Libyan unity government chief says ready to step down

By: AFP      Published: 01:49 AM, 18 Sep, 2020
Libyan unity government chief says ready to step down

The head of Libya's UN-recognised Government of National Accord, Fayez al-Sarraj, said he plans to step down within six weeks as part of efforts to broker a peace agreement.

Libya has endured almost a decade of violent chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Sarraj's Tripoli-based GNA has battled against a rival administration in eastern Libya led by strongman Khalifa Haftar, whose offensive against the capital was repelled earlier this year.

Representatives from the two sides have since met for peace talks in Morocco after last month announcing a surprise ceasefire and pledging national elections.

Sarraj said during a brief televised address late Wednesday that he was willing to leave his post in favour of a new executive determined by talks.

"I announce to all my sincere wish to cede my functions to the next administration before the end of October at the latest," he said.

He welcomed the "preliminary and promising recommendations" agreed to during the Morocco dialogue.

The talks had outlined the process for determining a new Presidential Council and the appointment of a new head of government who would take office "peacefully", Sarraj added.

The Morocco summit, dubbed the "Libyan Dialogue", brought together five members of the GNA and five from the rival parliament headquartered in the eastern city of Tobruk.

Morocco previously hosted talks in 2015 that led to the creation of the GNA.

The UN's mission in Libya (UNSMIL) paid tribute on Thursday to Sarraj's "courageous decision" to step down.

Sarraj's "announcement comes at a decisive turning point in Libya's longstanding crisis when it is clear that the situation is no longer sustainable," it said in a statement.

"The onus is now on concerned Libyan parties to fully shoulder their responsibilities... to take historic decisions, and to accept mutual concessions for the sake of their country."