Kerry, UK foreign secretary host meeting on Libya stalemate

AP News
Posted: Oct 31, 2016 1:12 PM
Kerry, UK foreign secretary host meeting on Libya stalemate

LONDON (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson hosted a London meeting Monday designed to help break Libya's political stalemate and resolve its acute cash shortage.

The session comes after the United Nations-backed Libyan government's failure to win legitimacy — or to function at all — amid the political fragmentation that followed the overthrow and killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Kerry and Johnson were joined by Libya's designated Prime Minister Fayez Serraj and other senior figures including U.N. special envoy Martin Kobler and diplomats from Italy, France and Saudi Arabia.

The agenda for the ministerial meeting is addressing the economic and security issues facing the U.N.-backed government in the chaotic North African country.

The U.N.-backed government has failed to win the endorsement of Libya's internationally recognized Parliament, which is a prerequisite to assume power. At the same time, Serraj faces a challenge from a self-declared prime minister in Tripoli who is trying to establish control.

There have been sporadic reports of violence in the capital and other parts of the country.

State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said the meeting "emphasized the international community's commitment to provide the Government of National Accord technical, economic, humanitarian, security and counter-terrorism assistance."

Western governments have been alarmed by the growing presence of so-called Islamic State extremists in the country.

Libyans are facing a severe cash crisis after years of declining revenues from oil exports. Oil terminals have been shut down due to the ongoing violence and the militia's takeover of the terminals.

The Libyan economy depends entirely on oil revenues.