UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council urged all Libyan parties Wednesday to accept a peace deal that requires the internationally recognized government to share power with rival Islamists who control the capital.
Bernardino Leon, the U.N. envoy leading talks aimed at stemming Libya's collapse, had hoped to win consensus over the deal before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which starts Thursday. But Libya's internationally recognized parliament dropped out of the talks last week in protest at the plan which would mean sharing power with its rivals.
The split between the Islamist-led government backed by militias that seized the capital of Tripoli last August and the elected parliament which was forced to move to the country's far east has been exacerbated by militants taking advantage of the chaos. The extremist Islamic State group and al-Qaida-linked militants have gained a foothold in Libya and are trying to extend their influence.
The Security Council strongly encouraged all parties to positively consider the latest peace proposals "and commit to the swift conclusion of an agreement."
The council stressed that "there can be no military solution to the crisis in Libya and that reaching a political agreement leading to the formation of a government of national accord is critical to ending Libya's political, security and institutional crises, and to confront the rising threat of terrorism."
Council members stressed the broad international support for the Libyan peace process, including from its neighbors and African Union leaders.
Faraj Abu-Hashim, the spokesman for the internationally recognized parliament, rebuffed pressure by the West and the United Nations to accept the peace deal and suspended its participation in the U.N.-brokered negotiations, but there are internal divisions. Negotiators from the government, now in the eastern city of Tobruk, backed the deal, saying it has "many positive elements."