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Vol 56 No 19

Published 25th September 2015


Battle for the bureaucrats

A political deal between Tobruk and Tripoli is as distant as ever. Economic collapse may be a bigger threat than the low-level militia violence

Despite their extreme differences, there is still pressure on Libya's rival parliaments in Tripoli and Tobruk to agree a unity government. It comes not from the limited diplomatic leverage that the United Nations and Western governments have exerted but from the fact that every month that passes without a deal takes the country a step closer to bankruptcy. That could mean an inability to import food and other essentials, and then, another humanitarian crisis. Yet the failure of the latest attempt to strike a peace deal under the auspices of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) confirms that the forces preventing unity are still strong. On 20 September, the deadline set by the UN Special Representative, Bernardino León , to agree the fifth version of the peace agreement, passed in silence.

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