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London welcomes selection of Libya's PM

Oct. 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM

LONDON, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Electing a former human rights lawyer as the next prime minister gives Libya the opportunity to address lingering challenges, the British government said.

The Libyan General National Congress elected independent member Ali Zidan as the new prime minister Sunday, the Tripoli Post reports.

Zidan resigned from the assembly last week in order to run for prime minister. He had served as a rights lawyer prior to his appointment to the congress.

British Minister for North Africa Alistair Burt said London looked forward to developing a strong working relationship with Zidan's eventual government.

"This will allow Libya to form a new government to build on the work started by the transitional government and address the challenges still facing the Libyan people, in particular as it seeks to establish stability and security," he said in a statement.

Prime Minister-elect Mustafa Abushagur was dismissed last week after failing twice to win approval for a new administration. He had said he wanted a "crisis government" to lead the country given security threats.

The BBC had reported that leaders from former rebel strongholds like Misurata and Benghazi wanted more representation in Abushagur's government.

U.S. agencies are investigating the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Attacks, which the U.S. government described as terrorism, left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three of his staff members dead.

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