Libya: Tripoli 'PM' presents cabinet before reconvened GNC

After Islamists seized capital. No Turkish 'interference', Tobruk govt

02 September, 20:18

    Libyans protest against the newly elected parliament (archive) Libyans protest against the newly elected parliament (archive)

    (ANSAmed) - CAIRO - The Libyan 'prime minister' appointed last week by the General National Congress (GNC), reconvened in Tripoli by Islamist militias holding de facto power over the capital, has presented a list of 19 ministers for his 'government'. The GNC - which was officially replaced by the House of Representatives, elected in June and recognized by the international community but forced for security reasons to meet in the eastern city of Tobruk - will now be called on to approve the government. The MENA news agency reports that the most well-known figures included on the list by Omar Al-Hasi are Mohamed Al-Ghariani as foreign minister and Mashallah Al-Zewi as oil minister.

    Last week the GNC appointed Hasi after it was called on to meet by the Revolutionaries Council set up in Tripoli. The council is made up for the most part of pro-Islamist militias from the northwestern city Misrata that have captured the airport and other nerve centers of the Libya capital, taking it away from rival militias from Zintan, also in northwestern Libya and considered allies of General Khalifa Haftar. The Tripoli 'revolutionaries' have turned down an offer by the Muslim extremist group Ansar Al-Sharia to unite in a single body, stressing that they are ''against terrorism'' and support the constitution.

    A diplomatic rift has emerged between Turkey and Libya after Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan allegedly called the holding of parliamentary sessions in Tobruk ''improper'', reports the Libya Herald. The Libyan foreign ministry on Monday decried the statement as ''blatant interference in Libyan affairs'', calling on the newly sworn-in president to clarify his views. Erdogan had congratulated the House of Representatives after its first session held in Tobruk in August. The Libya Herald noted that Erdogan's statement closely echoes that of Libya Dawn militias, which said on Sunday that they would recognise the House of Representatives ''only if it met in Tripoli''. The Islamist militias took control of the city last week.

    The Turkish foreign ministry has condemned the Libyan position, saying that any criticism of Erdogan's views is ''unacceptable'', given his ''sincerity and feelings towards our Libyan brothers''. According to the Libya Herald, ''Libyan Muslim Brotherhood figures are known to visit Turkey regularly for meetings and use it as a safe haven''. The UAE and Egypt, on the other hand - bitterly opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood - were reported to have helped bomb positions in Tripoli last month sympathetic to the Islamist movement and are seen to back the Tobruk-based Operation Dignity, which has offered protection to the House of Representatives, according to the Libya Herald. The daily noted that the UAE had last month arrested about 30 Libyan nationals believed to have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Libya Dawn. The United Nations, the EU, the Arab League, the African Union, and the Gulf Cooperation Council have all recognised the legitimacy of the Libyan parliamentary body meeting in Tobruk.

    Violent clashes near Benghazi's Benina International Airport were rekindled on Tuesday between the troops under former general Khalifa Haftar and the militants fighting with the Islamist group Ansar Al-Sharia and allied forces, reported the MENA news agency. Dozens have been killed in the fighting since Saturday. Ansar Al-Sharia militants have launched an offensive to take over the airport, one of the few strategic points in Benghazi controlled by the special forces answering to Haftar and the House of Representatives that meets in the eastern city of Tobruk. The 'government forces' are backed by military fighter jets carrying out airstrikes on jihadist positions, who return fire with artillery and Grad rockets. (ANSAmed). 

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