The office of one of Libya’s rival prime ministers says he arrived in the country’s capital, Tripoli, hoping to establish his government
CAIRO – The office of one of Libya’s rival prime ministers said he arrived in the country’s capital, Tripoli, on Tuesday hoping to sit in his government – three months after his appointment as head of an interim administration in the country in crisis.
The development is likely to fuel further tensions between Libya’s rival administrations and could trigger further clashes between different militias and rival forces supporting the two sides.
Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha’s office said he arrived with a number of ministers from his cabinet. He did not provide further details. There was no immediate comment from beleaguered Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah’s government, which is based in Tripoli.
Bashagha was named prime minister by the country’s east-based parliament in February. But Dbeibah refused to step down, insisting he would hand over power only to an elected government.
Over the weekend, rival militias clashed in the Janzour neighborhood of Tripoli. No casualties were reported, but local authorities said infrastructure was damaged, including a power station.
The UN mission in Libya condemned the clashes, which involved “indiscriminate firing and the alleged use of heavy weapons” in the densely populated neighborhood.
Lawmakers argued that Dbeibah’s term expired after Libya failed to hold presidential elections in December, as scheduled under a UN-brokered deal.
The failure to hold the vote was a blow to international efforts to end a decade of chaos in Libya. It opened a new chapter in Libya’s long-running political stalemate, with rival governments clamoring for power after wavering moves towards unity over the past year.
The oil-rich country has been wracked by conflict since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. For years, Libya has been divided between rival administrations in the east and to the west, each backed by different militias and foreign governments. .