Libya: Tobruk rejects national unity government

Tripoli wants UN sanctions on Egypt; ISIS places curfew on Sirte

20 February, 16:28

    The speaker of the Tobruk-based parliament Akila Saleh Issa (C) The speaker of the Tobruk-based parliament Akila Saleh Issa (C)

    (ANSAmed) - CAIRO - The Tobruk-based government and parliament, recognized at the international level, have rejected a proposal put forward by ''Western circles'' and the UN on the formation of a national unity government within the next week, report Libyan sources.

    The proposal aimed to counter the presence of the Islamic State (ISIS) militias in the country and would include the Muslim Brotherhood in the executive, said sources in referring to the Islamist group that dominates the Tripoli parliament.

    The ''sole aim'', they say, would be to fight the Islamic State. ''Freezing'' the Tobruk parliament and ''getting General Khalifa Haftar out of the political scene'' were also planned, they said.

    The MP Issa El-Erebi, reported the sources, asked for the UN-mediated political dialogue underway to be ''frozen'' and to create a government in Tobruk ''to deal with terrorism''.

    Also Tripoli has refused to resume UN-mediated negotiations with its rival government in Tobruk. Omar Al-Hassi, the prime minister of the government not recognized at the international level and based in the Libyan capital, has insisted that dialogue be suspended ''unless the UN bring the Egyptian regime before justice'' for its airstrikes on ''civilians in Derna'', say Libyan media. Hassi said that the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya has been at the hands of ''loyalists'' of the now-dead Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and attributed to the Islamic State (ISIS) with a fraudulent video to damage the Tripoli government's image and justify an Egyptian invasion. Media reports had said that talks were to have taken place on Sunday in Morocco, though no official confirmation had been given. Tripoli had previously insisted that talks be moved from Geneva to Libya.

    Meanwhile the Islamic State (ISIS) has imposed a curfew on Sirte, a city halfway between Tripoli and Benghazi on the Gulf of Sidra, report Libyan sources. On Thursday, Libyan media had confirmed that the city was completely under the control of the jihadists, who have taken over government buildings and the university and conducted a 'parade' of heavily armed pick-up trucks. The Al-Arabiya site quoted sources on the ground as saying that ISIS had taken control of the Ougadougou conference center, where former leader Muammar Gaddahi used to organize ostentatious African and Arab summits.

    The city is surrounded by Islamist militias from the Misrata Brigades, who would like to get the city back under the control of Tripoli, where the pro-Islamist government not recognized by the international community is located. Talks are underway between ISIS and elders from local tribes to prevent clashes and to get the jihadists out while allowing them to go to Nawfaliya, a desert town some 145 km east of Sirte.(ANSAmed).

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