EU and US Support New Libyan Government: Sanctions at Play

Written by | Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

The United States and the European Union announced on Sunday (13 March) that they had urged the newly recognized Libyan government to move to the capital as soon as possible and assume power. Both parties threatened that they would impose sanctions on those who will undermine the political process. “We are working with the EU and with the United States to quickly adopt sanctions, if it proves necessary, against those in both camps who prevent the new government from taking power,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. The EU is to discuss sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans, today (15 March).
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said in Paris during the meeting of the US and Western powers that both the US and the EU “call on all Libyan public institutions to facilitate a peaceful and orderly handover of power so that Libya’s new leaders can begin to govern from Libya’s capital”. In a joint statement issued by the United States, the EU, France, Great Britain and Italy, the allies said that the UN-backed unity government should move to the capital as soon as possible. The Libyan presidential council announced that it was taking power although it was lacking the approval of the Parliament. Libya has been “governed” by two rival administrations since 2014 when the recognized government was forced from the capital after Tripoli had been overrun by Islamist extremists.
An UN-brokered deal finalized in December last year serves as the basis for a power-sharing government to be based in Tripoli.  Yet, in February, 100 lawmakers from the recognized parliament said they supported a UN-backed cabinet but were “forcibly prevented” from putting the new government line-up to a vote of confidence. The presidential council, headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, commented in a statement that the majority petition signed by the lawmakers was equivalent to a vote of confidence. He therefore appealed to all sides “to immediately make contact with the unity government in order to organise the modalities of passing over power in a peaceful and organised way”.

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