Kerry, UK foreign secretary host meeting on Libya stalemate

LONDON (AP) " U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson hosted a London meeting Monday designed to help break Libya's political stalemate and resolve its acute cash shortage.

State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said the meeting "emphasized the international community's commitment to provide the Government of National Accord technical, economic, humanitarian, security and counter-terrorism assistance."

The session comes after the United Nations-backed Libyan government's failure to win legitimacy " or to function at all " amid the political fragmentation that followed the overthrow and killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Kerry and Johnson were joined by Libya's designated Prime Minister Fayez Serraj and other senior figures including U.N. special envoy Martin Kobler and diplomats from Italy, France and Saudi Arabia.

The agenda for the ministerial meeting is addressing the economic and security issues facing the U.N.-backed government in the chaotic North African country.

The U.N.-backed government has failed to win the endorsement of Libya's internationally recognized Parliament, which is a prerequisite to assume power.

At the same time, Serraj faces a challenge from a self-declared prime minister in Tripoli who is trying to establish control.

There have been sporadic reports of violence in the capital and other parts of the country.

Western governments have been alarmed by the growing presence of so-called Islamic State extremists in the country.

Libyans are facing a severe cash crisis after years of declining revenues from oil exports. Oil terminals have been shut down due to the ongoing violence and the militia's takeover of the terminals.

The Libyan economy depends entirely on oil revenues.

Kerry, winding down his time as the chief U.S. diplomat, also received two awards from venerable institutions " The Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House and the Benjamin Franklin House " and joined London Mayor Sadiq Khan for a meeting with young Londoners.

When asked about the U.S. presidential election, Kerry told the City Hall gathering that the tone of the campaign has at times made it harder for him to press America's case with foreign leaders.

"There are moments when it is downright embarrassing," he said of the White House race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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