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Libya’s new interim PM Dbeibah urges reconstruction of war-torn country

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Libya’s new interim Prime Minister, 61-year-old engineer Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, promised to be “ready to listen to and work with all Libyans” and called for the “reconstruction of the country” during his first televised address on Saturday.

Libya welcomed a new interim government a day earlier aimed at resolving a decade of chaos between warring sides following UN-led talks.

“I would like to congratulate all Libyans on achieving this important success by agreeing on a new political roadmap that will form a path to end the conflict and reach elections on a constitutional and democratic basis,” Dbeiba said.

“I call on everyone without exception to rally around this government to begin serious work for the reconstruction of the country on a solid basis that lives up to the aspirations and sacrifice of our brave people.”

Long road ahead

Libya was thrown into chaos after a NATO-backed intervention ended Moamer Gaddafi’s four-decade rule in 2011.

Since 2014, Libya has been split between west and east administrations backed by foreign powers with the GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar in the east.

Though many hope for peace, ceasefires have previously failed.

But acting UN envoy Stephanie Williams, who facilitated the week-long talks in Switzerland, called it a “historic moment”.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “I do believe it is a breakthrough”.

Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the US welcomed the interim government, but cautioned of a “long road ahead” and said it would have to offer Libyans essential public services.

Who is Dbeibah?

Hailing from the city of Misrata, Dbeibah had led the Libyan Investment and Development Company under Gaddafi.

The wealthy businessman has 21 days to form a cabinet, then another three weeks to win a vote of confidence in parliament, by March 19 at the latest.

A three-member presidency council has also been chosen to head a unity administration and steer the North African state towards the ballot box on December 24.

The vote is part of a complex UN-led process aiming to build on a fragile ceasefire in force since October that has cleared the way for a resumption of oil exports on which the country is dependent.