Ghassan Salame (L), the Special Representative to the Secretary General of the United Nations for Libya, is greeted by Libya’s UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj ahead of a press conference in Tripoli, Libya, August 5, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nation (UN)’s mission to Libya has announced that it will “gradually” return to the conflict-ridden country after leaving its headquarters in the capital, Tripoli, amid unrest and political violence in 2014.
Ghassan Salame, the newly-appointed UN envoy for Libya, made the remarks on Saturday during his first visit to the North African country and a press conference with Libya’s UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj.
“The mission will work along with Libyan institutions with the aim of providing the required logistical and technical support,” Salame said.
“I would like to inform Mr. al-Serraj and the Libyans that we are with them and on their side to work so that the next months and next year will be a year of stability in an independent, united Libya,” he said.
“I have no illusions regarding the difficulties and challenges ahead but I am optimistic that Libya can emerge from this crisis soon,” the UN official said.
Serraj, for his part, stressed the urgent need for a political solution to the Libyan crisis, saying, “We face major security, political, and economic challenges that need all parties to live up to their national responsibility.”
Last month, Salame participated in French-brokered talks in Paris between Serraj and a rival, Khalifa Haftar, who is the chief of Libya’s self-styled national army in eastern Libya.

(L-to-R) Ghassan Salame, the special UN envoy for Libya, French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, French President Emmanuel Macron, Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and General Khalifa Haftar give a press conference, in La Celle-Saint-Cloud, near Paris, July 25, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Libya has been grappling with violence and political uncertainty since the oil-rich country’s former dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, was deposed in 2011 and later killed by militants. A US-led NATO military intervention exacerbated the unrest at the time.
The conflict-plagued country has had two rival administrations since mid-2014, when militias overran the capital and forced the parliament to flee to the Libya’s remote east.
Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) has sought to unify powerful factions, but despite support from the United Nations, it has been struggling to assert its authority since it began work in Tripoli in March 2016.
A rival administration, which is based in Libya’s remote east and with which Haftar is allied, refuses to recognize Sarraj’s government.

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