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GENEVA: Libyan delegates at UN-facilitated talks outside Geneva on Friday made the surprise choice of Abdul Hamid Dbeibah as the transitional unity prime minister to take the war-ravaged country through to elections in December. He was chosen along with a three-member presidency council to head a unity administration and steer the North African state towards the ballot box on December 24.

Dbeibah, the founder of the Libya al-Mostakbal movement, previously led the Libyan Investment and Development Company under ousted dictator Muammar Qadhafi. The vote is part of a complex process that is hoped will build on a fragile ceasefire and end more than a decade of conflict.

Oil-rich Libya has been torn by civil war since a NATO-backed uprising led to the toppling and killing of Kadhafi in 2011.

"On behalf of the United Nations, I am pleased to witness this historic moment," said UN envoy Stephanie Williams, who facilitated the week-long talks outside Geneva, after announcing the result.

"The importance of the decision that you have taken here today will grow with the passage of time in the collective memory of the Libyan people." Control of the country has been split between a Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and the eastern-based House of Representatives backed by military leader Khalifa Haftar.

The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, comprised of 75 participants selected by the United Nations to represent a broad cross-section of society, chose Friday between proposed line-ups for the four leadership positions - the prime minister and three presidency council posts, which will represent the three main regions.

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