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In 2011 the long-time dictator of Libya, Muammar Gadhafi, was overthrown with the help of UK and other western armed forces. The country has been plagued by division and conflict ever since.

Since around 2015, the country has been split into eastern and western factions, each having rival governments backed by various militia groups.

In late 2020 the warring sides agreed to a ceasefire, and a Government of National Unity was formed in early 2021 to lead Libya until elections could be held in December 2021. However, those elections did not go ahead. 

Libya remains divided between the eastern-based Government of National Stability, led by Osama Hamada, and the UN-backed Government of National Unity, led by Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, based in Tripoli in the west.

The UK Government has called on Libya’s leaders and power brokers to engage with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Abdoulaye Bathily, to reach a political agreement for elections.

In June 2023, a committee drawn from the rival legislative bodies, known as the 6+6 committee (or the House of Representatives and High State Council joint committee) agreed on draft laws for presidential and parliamentary elections. The elections have yet to be scheduled.

On 13 September 2023, the UK announced up to £1 million in response to the Libyan floods but increased this to a £10 million package to respond to both the floods in Libya and the earthquake in Morocco. The United States has announced US$11 million (around £9 million) in its response. On 14 September, the UN launched an appeal for US$71 million (around £58 million) to support up to 250,000 affected by the floods for a three-month period. This is around 30% funded, as of 10 October 2023.

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