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2 mars 2015 1 02 /03 /mars /2015 13:45
Libya's PM says Turkey supplying weapons to rival Tripoli group


02 March 2015 defenceWeb (Reuters)


Libya's internationally recognized Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni said his government would stop dealing with Turkey because it was sending weapons to a rival group in Tripoli so "the Libyan people kill each other".


Two administrations, one in the capital and Thinni's in the east, have been battling for power since the armed group Libya Dawn seized Tripoli in July and reinstated lawmakers from a previous assembly, four years after Muammar Gaddafi was ousted.


"Turkey is a state that is not dealing honestly with us. It's exporting weapons to us so the Libyan people kill each other," Thinni told Egyptian TV channel CBC late on Thursday.


A spokesman for Turkey's Foreign Ministry strongly denied Thinni's allegations.


"Instead of repeating the same baseless and untrue allegations we advise them to support U.N. efforts for political dialogue," spokesman Tanju Bilgic said.


"Our policy vis-a-vis Libya is very clear. We are against any external intervention in Libya and we fully support the ongoing political dialogue process under U.N. mediation."


Turkey is one of a handful of countries which has publicly received officials from the Tripoli government and parliament.


Thinni's government said this week it would exclude companies from future deals, accusing Ankara of backing the Tripoli government.


He repeated that Turkish firms would be excluded from contracts in territory controlled by his government in the CBC interview, noting that any outstanding bills would be paid.


"We don't say we are hostile to Turkey but we say we don't deal with it," he said.


Critics of Ankara say its Libya policy is an extension of a pro-Islamist agenda which has already seen relations sour with other former allies, notably Egypt.


Thinni also accused Qatar of giving "material" support to the rival side in the Libyan conflict. He did not elaborate.


Army general Khalifa Haftar, who merged his forces with the army in the east to fight Islamist militants, is seen as a potential rival to Thinni. While the alliance has enabled them to win back territory, Haftar has been criticized for air strikes on civilian airports.


On Wednesday, a spokesman for Thinni's parliament said the assembly's president would appoint Haftar as top army commander.


In the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday, unknown gunmen shot with what appeared to be anti-aircraft guns at a protest supporting the army and Haftar.


Nobody was hurt but three nearby buildings were hit, a Reuters reporter at the scene said.


The protesters had demanded classifying the Muslim Brotherhood as a "terrorist" organization, like in Egypt.


The Brotherhood has a presence in the rival parliament in Tripoli and western Libya.


Thinni's government accuses it of having ties to militant groups such as Ansar al-Sharia, blamed by Washington for an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi where the U.S. ambassador died.


The Brotherhood in Libya says it is a peaceful organization. No more details were immediately available.

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26 février 2015 4 26 /02 /février /2015 17:45
Libyan PM criticizes U.S., UK and EU for failing to supply weapons


26 February 2015 defenceWeb (Reuters)


Libya's official Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni on Tuesday criticized the United States, Britain and European Union for failing to supply arms to his forces as they battle those of a rival government.


The tough comments come a day after Libya's elected parliament, allied to Thinni, suspended its participation in U.N.-sponsored talks to try to end the power struggle between the two rival administrations and assemblies.


Thinni has been confined to a rump state in the east since a rival faction called Libya Dawn seized the capital Tripoli last year, reinstating an old assembly known as the GNC and setting up a rival government.


Thinni and the House of Representatives, also based in the east, enjoy the recognition of world powers but anti-Western sentiment has been building up. Many normal people demand military support in the power struggle with Tripoli, four years after the NATO-backed ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.


"Unfortunately, the international community and especially the United States, Britain and the European Union have refused to arm the Libyan army," Thinni told pan-Arab channel Al-Arabiya.


"Libya Dawn is part of militant Islamists which get weapons, ammunition and supplies from all over the world," he said. "But America and Britain have other ideas against the interest of the Libyan people."


Libya is still under a U.N. arms embargo dating from the 2011 uprising, though the country is awash with weapons and dominated by armed factions.


Thinni has been facing pressure from army general Khalifa Haftar who has merged his forces with army troops in the east to fight Islamist groups. While the alliance has managed to win back some territory in Benghazi, Haftar has drawn criticism for calling in air strikes on civilian airports and seaports.


Frustrated with hardships in the east, where the conflict has made petrol, electricity and medicines scarce, protesters have demanded Thinni quit and hand power to a military council headed by Haftar.


In another sign of pro-military sentiment, a committee of the House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to create the position of top military commander, its spokesman Farraj Hashem said.


Lawmakers did not name anyone but analysts expect Haftar to get the job. Some of his senior officers have already received official positions.


In Tripoli, the rival General National Congress (GNC) urged all parties to join the U.N. talks, its second deputy speaker Saleh Makhzoum told reporters.


The United Nations had planned to hold a new round in Morocco this week, after several sessions inside and outside Libya made little progress.

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