Western envoys in Libya in show of support for UN-backed government

Ambassadors from Britain, France and Spain were in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Thursday in a rare visit seen as a show of support for a nascent UN-backed administration.

The envoys met members of the Presidency Council at a naval base in Tripoli, where the new administration is based, the council's spokesman Khaled Farhat said.

"The meeting discussed necessary arrangements for returning the staffers of Western embassies as soon as possible," he said.

This is the envoys' first visit to Tripoli since their countries closed their embassies in Libya in mid-2014 when fighting raged between rival militias.

A French Foreign Ministry spokesman said Paris is considering reopening its embassy, dependent on the stabilization of the security situation.

"The government must exercise its authority over all the Libyan administrative and financial institutions to respond to the numerous expectations of the Libyan people. It can count on the support of France to confront the challenges Libya is facing," the spokesman added.

Earlier this week, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni visited Libya in a gesture of solidarity with the new administration that has yet to be sworn in.

The Presidency Council and a national unity government are part of a UN-brokered peace deal aimed at ending Libya's civil strife.

An elected parliament based in the eastern city of Tobruk has yet to approve the two bodies.

Libya has been in turmoil since the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Moamer Gaddafi.

In 2014, the oil-rich country was split between two rival administrations, one based in Tripoli and the other in Tobruk.

The Islamic State terrorist militia has taken advantage of the chaos to establish a foothold in Libya.

Last update: Thu, 14/04/2016 - 18:57
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