UN envoy says Libya mission to be rebuilt from October

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Fri, 08 Sep 2017 - 11:53 GMT

© AFP | Dozens of militias have jostled for power in the chaos that followed the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

© AFP | Dozens of militias have jostled for power in the chaos that followed the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

BERLIN - 8 September 2017: The new United Nations envoy to Libya said Friday he plans to rebuild the UN mission in the conflict-torn country from next month.

The mission was withdrawn in 2014 from the north African country where two competing governments and dozens of militias have jostled for power in the chaos that followed the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

The UN envoy, Ghassan Salame, told Germany's Die Welt newspaper he hoped that security staff would arrive in the coming weeks and that "we will be able to carry out a substantial part of our activities back in Libya from early October".

"We have set up a small office which is not big enough for the entire UN mission but for a substantial part of the staff," he was quoted as saying.

The instability has hampered oil-rich Libya's efforts to rebuild its war-shattered economy and allowed people traffickers to ferry migrants and refugees across the Mediterranean to Europe, while holding thousands in detention centres rife with violence and abuse.

"Daily life in the holding camps in Libya must change radically," said Salame, a Lebanese academic and former culture minister.

"People need adequate health care. Especially women, the elderly and children must be protected," he said.

Italy and the European Union have been financing, training and providing aid to Libya's coastguard to stop the smugglers.

The UN-backed Government of National Accord is headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, who took office in Tripoli in March 2016.

Strongman Khalifa Haftar backs a rival administration in eastern Libya and also controls much of the desert south.

In July, the two rivals committed to a ceasefire and holding elections as soon as possible at talks brokered by French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

Salame said elections are important but pointed to hurdles, including agreeing a new constitution and laws for the country's first presidential election.

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