Friday, April 1, 2016

Libyan unity government starts work from naval base. France says be ready for Libya intervention

Libya's UN-backed unity government, that arrived in Tripoli amid threats by rival factions, has held meetings at a heavily guarded naval base in Tripoli.

The leaders arrived at the base by ship from neighbouring Tunisia on Wednesday in a high-risk bid to take power, after opponents prevented them from flying in by closing down Tripoli's airspace.

There were reports of sporadic gunfire and road blocks leading into Tripoli emerged on Wednesday, with questions raised whether violence would erupt, or a peaceful transition of power would ensue.

Western powers hope the new government will request and channel foreign support to confront the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group, deal with migrant flows from Libya towards Europe, and restore oil production to shore up its economy.

Thursday's meetings saw members of the unity government's seven-member Presidential Council meet political supporters, local council leaders, businessmen and central bank governor Sadiq al-Kabir.

Abdulrahman Taweel, a brigadier general in charge of organising protection for the new government, described the base as "completely secured".

"We are working to secure all other state institutions," he told Reuters news agency without elaborating.

"The council is here to stay and to continue their work here in Tripoli. They will not leave except for international meetings and will return."

The Presidential Council and the Government of National Accord (GNA) emerged from a deal mediated by the UN and signed in December to overcome an impasse that saw rival governments in Tripoli and Bayda competing for power...
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

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