Libya’s U.N.-established presidency council announced on Monday that it effectively gave the green light for 18 government ministers to start work, even though they have not received backing from the parliament based in the country’s east.
The development announced is an effort to bypass political impasse that continues to grip this North African country, five years after the overthrow and killing of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Since 2014, Libya has been torn among rival militias, tribes, governments and parliaments.
The council was established under a U.N.-brokered unity deal struck in December to reconcile Libya’s many political divisions. The deal also created a de facto Cabinet to administer the country under Prime Minister-designate Fayez Serraj and the 18 ministers will answer to him.
Divisions in the Tobruk parliament between boycotters and supporters of the new government have prevented the house from reaching a quorum to endorse the council.
Fathi al-Majbari, one of Serraj’s deputies, told The Associated Press that the council’s move was the result of “stubbornness of some of the parliament members” in Tobruk who “created a political vacuum.”
“We know that the road to unity will be rocky but we have the support of the people,” al-Majbari said.
In Vienna on Monday, foreign ministers or their deputies from more than 20 nations, including the United States, are to discuss Libya.
Western nations hope Serraj’s government can unite the country in order to combat an increasingly powerful ISIS affiliate there. As Libya sank into chaos over the past years, ISIS militants gained a foothold, taking over the central city of Sirte and carrying out deadly attacks across the country.
U.S. ‘READY’ TO ARM LIBYAN GOVERNMENT
In a step aimed at helping Libya in the fight against ISIS and other terrorists, the United States and other world powers expressed their willingness to supply Libya’s internationally recognized governments with weapons and to push for exemptions to an arms embargo imposed on the country.
The decision is stated in a communique prepared for the end of top-level talks on Libya. The Associated Press obtained the document ahead of its release.
Libya is under a UN embargo imposed to keep lethal arms away from terrorists and rival militias vying for power. However, the communique signed by the U.S. the four other permanent U.N. Security Council members and the more than 15 other nations participating at the talks are “ready to respond to the Libyan government’s requests for training and equipping” government forces.