Representatives of two rival administrations that for more than 18 months have split Libya’s government in two signed a UN-sponsored political agreement on 17 December, setting a timetable for the formation of a government of national unity. The deal, signed in Skhirat near the Moroccan capital Rabat, brought together delegates from the internationally recognized government in Baida, and the unofficial Government of National Salvation in Tripoli.

The agreement has come in the context of intense international pressure. The original 20 September deadline for a deal on a unity government was missed, as was the 20 October deadline for its implementation. Since then, diplomatic pressure has been mounting, motivated in part by resolving Libya’s destructive executive division, but even more so by a desire to control the threat of Islamic State (IS) in the country. (CONTINUED - 1187 WORDS)