25 August 2014

Libya's Neighbors Won't Intervene in 'Domestic Affairs'

Photo: Wikipedia
Tripoli International Airport has become a battle ground as rival politician fight to gain control (file photo).

Libya's North African neighbors have pledged not to intervene in the crisis-ridden country. They also expressed support for Libya's elected parliament, which has been challenged by the former interim assembly.

The foreign ministers from Libya and other North African nations said after talks held in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Monday, that they had agreed that the country's problems must be solved internally.

"This joint initiative of the neighboring countries is based on the main principles of ... non- intervention in Libya's domestic affairs," a statement at the end of their meeting said.

They also declared their support for Libya's newly elected parliament and called for a "peace-building program" to help it and the country's armed forces to "establish control of all Libyan soil."

This came as the parliament, which was elected in June, faced a challenge from the Islamist-dominated former assembly.

News agencies reported on Monday that the old General National Congress (GNC), whose term had expired after the June elections, had reconvened in Tripoli and elected Islamist-backed university professor Omar al-Hassi as prime minister to head a "salvation government."

Local media said members of the GNC had agreed to reconvene at the behest of Islamist militias from the western city of Misrata, who seized control of Tripoli's airport from rivals fighters from Zintan on Saturday.

It wasn't immediately clear how many former parliamentarians took part in Monday's meeting, nor was it clear whether they had enough to form a quorum. However, local media reported that the GNC had voted to fire members of the new parliament, which had been meeting in the eastern town of Tobruk to avoid the violence in and around Tripoli.

Libya has been mired in varying decrees of violence and general chaos since the militias from Misrata and Zintan were among those who joined forces to help topple long-time strongman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Observers fear that with no central government able to establish effective control over the entire country since then, Libya could degenerate into a failed state, or an all-out civil war could break out.

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