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Shadow government announces withdrawal from Tripoli

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The Libyan government appointed by Parliament this morning announced its entry into the capital. Clashes broke out in the city.

Libya’s parliament-appointed government, backed by powerful Marshal Khalifa Haftar, announced on Tuesday that it was withdrawing from the capital Tripoli, seat of rival executive power, after several hours of fighting sparked by its arrival.

Endowed with the most abundant reserves in Africa, Libya has been plagued since the fall of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 by a series of political crises and violence that undermined the transition process that was supposed to turn the page of the years of dictatorship. By mid-morning, the Parliament-appointed government press service indicated in a press release that its Prime Minister Fathi Bachagha, as well as several of his ministers, “left Tripoli to preserve the security (…) of the citizens“.

“Refrain from any provocative action”

Earlier in the evening, he had announced the arrival in Tripoli of Fathi Bachagha and the ministers “to start working thereof the government, but this led to several hours of fighting in the middle of the city between armed groups, according to an AFP correspondent. The AFP journalist was unable to identify these factions accurately. In the Tripoli region, the two camps are supported by armed groups that are still very influential in the west of the country, but whose allegiance is traditionally changing. “Al Nawasi“, a large militia in the capital, particularly welcomed the entry of Fathi Bachagha on the night of Monday to Tuesday, before his withdrawal.

For its part, the Tripoli government, born in early 2020 from a political process sponsored by the UN, has not reacted to the events of the last few hours. The UN Secretary General’s special adviser for Libya, Stephanie Williams, for her part, asked on Twitter that “detention“insisting”on the absolute necessity of refraining from any provocative action“. In a video broadcast by local media, Fathi Bachagha said in the morning that it had been “very well receivedin Tripoli, and announced a press conference in the evening, during whicha speech of unity to the Libyan people“.

And the interior minister of the Bachagha government, Issam Abu Zariba, had assured, before the withdrawal, that the government team would take over.”peacefully” and “in compliance with the law“. To ease the transition, he called “all security forces (…) to cooperate“. In February, the eastern parliament appointed Fathi Bachagha, the former interior minister, as the new prime minister. This body is supported by the powerful Marshal Khalifa Haftar, a strongman in eastern Libya whose forces have tried to conquer the capital. in 2019.

a political chaos

But Fathi Bachagha has so far failed to oust the Tripoli executive, led by businessman Abdelhamid Dbeibah. The latter has repeatedly stated that he would hand over power only to a government formed after the elections. The government of Abdelhamid Dbeibah had, in fact, as its main mission the organization of legislative and presidential elections, initially scheduled for last December. However, disagreements between local political chiefs, in particular over the legal basis for the scrutiny, led to the indefinite postponement of these elections in which the international community had high hopes of finally stabilizing the vast North African country. Abdelhamid Dbeibah’s political rivals believe his term ended with this postponement.

Since 2011, Libya, a vast country of 7 million people, has continued to be plagued by political chaos, divisions between competing institutions in East and West, and insecurity. Oil production, the country’s main source of income, has been held hostage by political divisions, with a wave of forced closures of oil sites in recent weeks.

Considered close to the eastern camp, the groups behind the blockades demanded a transfer of power to Fathi Bachagha, as well as a better distribution of oil revenues. Since then, production has dropped by about 600,000 barrels a day, or half of average daily production, resulting in a shortfall of “$60 million” a day, when prices are rising under the impact of the war in Ukraine, lamented the Minister of Oil and Gas in late April in an interview with AFP.

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