Ministry urges ‘restraint’ in Libya after rival faction challenges UN-backed government

Ministry for foreign affairs urges Libyans to put aside personal agenda after rival faction takes over building used by government’s legislative body

Foreign affairs minister George Vella
Foreign affairs minister George Vella

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has called on Libyans to exercise restraint and lay down their weapons after a rival faction challenged Libya’s UN-backed government and demanded a new government.

The faction, which is made up of leaders of a former Tripoli government, took over the Rixos hotel in Tripoli, where part of the government is supposed to operate, and in a challenge to Western plans to end the instability in the country, proclaimed its own authority and demanded a new government.

Warning against any attempts to create parallel institutions, the foreign affairs ministry called for the continuation of dialogue and understanding between all Libyan parties, arguing that only national reconciliation could lead to a peaceful and stable Libya.

“The ministry strongly appeals to all actors in the Libyan crisis to exercise restraint, lay down their arms, and shy away from violence and bloodshed.”

“The Ministry strongly appeals to all Libyans to put aside their own personal agendas and work for the common good of all Libyans … The Libyan Political Agreement provides a strong basis for all Libyans to, once more, come together and endeavor to return their homeland to normality,” it said.

Following the takeover of the building on Saturday, Libya’s internationally backed government posted images on social media of its presidential council and ministers holding a meeting in the main offices of parliament in a different part of Tripoli, and described the takeover as a bid to scuttle its attempts to form a stable government.

The Rixos was supposed to be the base for the State Council, a legislative body made up of Tripoli's former parliament as part of the U.N.-backed unity government deal.

Challenging the GNA's authority in the capital poses a risk to Western plans for Libya's unity government to stabilise the country and help fight Islamist militants and migrant smugglers.

The United Nations and European Union warned against attempts to create parallel institutions and reiterated their backing for the U.N.-negotiated deal that formed a Government of National Unity (GNA) in Tripoli.