October 9, 2015 / 11:00 PM / 2 years ago

Western countries say endorse unity government for Libya

People take part in a protest against candidates for a national unity government proposed by U.N. envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon, in Benghazi, Libya October 9, 2015.Esam Omran Al-Fetori

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Britain and the United States on Friday endorsed a national unity government in Libya as proposed by the United Nations to end the conflict between two rival governments in the war-torn country.

"Delays in forming a unity government will only prolong the suffering of the Libyan people and benefit terrorists seeking to take advantage of the chaos," the Western allies said in a joint statement.

The United Nations proposed the national unity government on Thursday to end a war between the internationally recognized government and a competing self-declared administration but the deal faces resistance in Tripoli.

"The international community will stand with the Government of National Accord as it undertakes the hard work of restoring peace and stability to Libya and will isolate those who fail to respect the political agreement," the statement said.

It added that no arms should enter Libya except at the request of the new government in accordance with the terms of the political agreement.

The United Nations has been negotiating a peace agreement to form a unity government. It had been pushing hard for a deal before the parliament's mandate ended on Oct. 20 to prevent the country falling deeper into chaos.

Four years after the uprising that toppled veteran ruler Muammar Gaddafi, Western governments fear the struggle could turn the oil-producing North African country into a failed state.

The allies said they called on all Libyans, including political leaders, to support the settlement.

"There is no more time to waste," they said.

Reporting by Sandra Maler; Editing by Lisa Lambert

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