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Libya's PM Fayez al-Sarraj reportedly set to resign

Prime Minister of UN-recognised administration said to stay on through negotiations for a new government in Geneva
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj
Despite Sarraj's defence of Tripoli, his government has since descended into political infighting (AFP)

Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj plans to announce his resignation soon, but will stay on in a caretaker capacity through next month's negotiations over a new government, according to officials familiar with the situation.

With Turkish help, Sarraj, head of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, quashed a year-long offensive on the capital by eastern commander Khalifa Haftar in June. 

Haftar, who is supported by countries including the UAE, Egypt and Russia, backs a rival eastern-based parliament.

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Despite Sarraj's defence of Tripoli, his government has since descended into political infighting, and Sarraj has also faced protests over corruption and poor services.

By announcing his resignation, Sarraj would relieve some of the pressure he faces while setting the stage for his departure after the talks in Geneva, two officials told Bloomberg on condition of anonymity.

Under a ceasefire announced last month, the rival sides will be asked to agree on a new presidential council structure that unifies the country's rival administrations and schedules elections.

Four officials told Bloomberg that Sarraj and his aides had discussed his plans with Libyan and international partners. 

He is expected to make his announcement by the end of this week, two officials said. 

A spokesman for Sarraj declined to comment on the prime minister's plans.

New UN envoy

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council on Tuesday asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to appoint a special envoy to broker peace in Libya, although Russia and China abstained from voting on the resolution that also extended the UN mission in the country.

Ghassan Salame, who headed the UN political mission and was also charged with trying to mediate peace, quit in March due to stress. 

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Guterres informally proposed a replacement, but the United States wanted the role split, to have one person run the UN mission and a special envoy to focus on mediation.

The Security Council agreed to that proposal on Tuesday.

"With the new structure, we will have to present a new candidate and we will have to naturally consult with the Security Council for that purpose," Guterres told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

The Security Council traditionally agrees, informally, by consensus to such appointments. 

Several months ago, the US proposed that Guterres appoint former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt to be special envoy, but diplomats said she had since withdrawn herself from consideration.

Russia and China said they abstained on the resolution on Tuesday because it did not include their suggested amendments.

"I'm shocked with the fact that so many spoilers, so many countries, have been interfering with the Libyan situation, building up military capacity on both sides... completely disregarding resolutions of the Security Council in relation to the arms embargo, or mercenaries," Guterres told Reuters.

Libya descended into chaos after the Nato-backed overthrow of leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.