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Arrival of UN-backed Libya govt head in Tripoli 'unique opportunity': EU

30 March 2016, 16:27 CET
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(BRUSSELS) - The EU on Wednesday said the arrival in the Libyan capital of the head of the UN-backed unity government provided a "unique opportunity" for reconciliation in the strife-torn country.

"The arrival of the Presidency Council in the capital (Tripoli) represents a unique opportunity for Libyans from all factions to reunite and reconcile," said a statement issued by EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini.

"This is an important step for Libya's democratic transition and for the implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement, in line with the wishes of the Libyan people," Mogherini said.

She added that the 28-nation European Union stood ready to support Libya and had already prepared an aid package worth 100 million euros ($110 million) for various projects.

Prime minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj, a businessman named government chief under a UN-brokered power-sharing deal reached in December, and several members of his cabinet arrived by sea in Tripoli with a naval escort.

Libya has had two rival administrations since mid-2014 when a militia alliance overran the capital, setting up its own administration and forcing the internationally recognised parliament to flee to the country's remote east.

The West and especially the EU have long urged Libya's political rivals to support a unity government amid increasing alarm over the rise of jihadists and people-smugglers in the impoverished North African state.

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