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West throws weight behind unity government proposals for Libya

Germany, the United States, Britain, France, Italy and Spain have endorsed plans for Libya's new national unity government. The United Nations has brokered a deal between Libya's two rival governments.

The six Western powers threw their support behind the UN's carefully negotiated plan for a national unity government for Libya on Friday.

The proposals were

announced a day earlier by UN envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon,

in a bid to end a war between the internationally recognized government based in Tobruk, in the east of the country. and a self-declared Islamist administration in Tripoli.

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Plans for Libyan national unity government

Hardliners from both sides had

resisted peace talks, which were finalized late last month.

Giving their first reaction to the plans, the Western allies called on Libya's leaders to sign the accord at the earliest opportunity, warning that: "Delays in forming a unity government will only prolong the suffering of the Libyan people and benefit terrorists seeking to take advantage of the chaos." Their statement refers to the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group, its allies and other rebel groups, which operate in the war-torn country.

"The international community will stand with the Government of National Accord as it undertakes the hard work of restoring peace and stability to Libya," a joint text by Germany, the United States, Britain, France, Italy and Spain said.

Libya has been labeled a failed state due to a power vacuum that was created following the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi, who had ruled for more than four decades.

In August 2014, a militia alliance overan the capital, forcing the officially recognized government to take refuge in the east.

Both sides must approve

UN officials have been negotiating a peace agreement, hoping to reach a deal before the current parliament's mandate ends on October 20, to prevent the country falling deeper into chaos.

On Thursday, the new prime minister was confirmed as Fayez Sarraj, a member of the Tripoli-based parliament. Three deputy prime ministers will also be appointed to represent the country's east, west and south.

But Libyan MPs remain skeptical over whether the proposals will work. Parliament is set to vote on whether to accept the deal.

The Western allies called on all Libyans to support the settlement, adding that the international community would "isolate those who fail to respect the political agreement."

Four years after Gaddafi's ouster, Western governments fear the ongoing power struggle in the oil-producing North African country will push the shattered economy over the edge.

mm/jm (Reuters, AFP)

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