African Union names team to tackle Libya conflict

AFP , Sunday 31 Jan 2016

Presidents and leaders of government pose for an African Union family portrait on January 30, 2016 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa (Photo: AFP)

African Union leaders have named a taskforce of five heads of state to address the conflict in Libya, where the Islamic State group is gaining ground, a top AU diplomat said Sunday.

"This is something that concerns us all," AU Peace and Security Council chief Smail Chergui told reporters, adding effective action in Libya could only happen "if we have a government in place".

Libya has been in turmoil since the ouster of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a 2011 revolution.

It now has two governments and parliaments, with the internationally recognised authorities based in the east and a militia-backed authority in the capital Tripoli.

"We do not believe at this time in a military solution to the Libyan crisis - that would further complicate the situation," Chergui said.

Instead, AU presidents have decided to relaunch the 'High Level Contact Group on Libya', a team of five heads of state, "to lend support to the ongoing efforts."

The team has not yet been named.

Former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who stepped down last year, was named as the AU's new special envoy to Libya. He replaces former Djibouti Prime Minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita.

Sunday was the second and final day of the 54-member AU's summit in Ethiopia.

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