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Libya: Thani’s Govt. Threatens to Arrest Sarraj Ministers | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Libya transition government Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani. (AFP)

Cairo, London – Libya’s transition government, of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani, escalated on Thursday its dispute with the UN-backed national accord government of PM Fayez al-Sarraj after it ordered the arrest of the latter’s ministers.

Thani gave “strict instructions” to the security forces to arrest ministers of the al-Sarraj cabinet should they enter the territory of the transition government in eastern Libya.

“This includes any individuals who cooperate with them,” he added.

Thani made his order after his government received information that al-Sarraj’s cabinet was attempting to expand its influence into his territory. He therefore demanded that immediate measures be taken at all land, marine and air portals.

Meanwhile, special force commander in Benghazi Mahmoud al-Warfali announced that the largest terrorist cells, comprised of 42 members, had been arrested in the city.

They confessed to being behind several assassinations and bombings and of abetting extremists.

Al-Warfali said that the cells received their instructions from a terrorist commander in the al-Sabry region.

These developments took place as German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel paid a visit on Thursday to the capital Libya, where he held talks with al-Sarraj during which he voiced his country’s total support for him and his government.

He said that the political, humanitarian and security consequences of Middle East conflicts are reflected in Libya.

“Our goal is to work with the Libyans against this cycle of instability that is born out of a lack of solid infrastructure,” he remarked.

The German minister stressed that it is important for European partners to reach an agreement over Libya and speak in one voice over it. This requires that the rival Libya factions demonstrate their readiness to make concessions in order to reach solutions in the middle ground.

Al-Sarraj said that Gabriel’s visit reflects Germany’s great concern in resolving the Libyan crisis and achieve stability throughout the country. Talks with the foreign minister tackled a number of political and security files, including illegal immigration.

The situation in Libya was also addressed during talks held in Cairo on Thursday between French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry.

Earlier, the Libyan National Army (LNA) accused Qatar of attempting to assassinate its commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in a suicide car bombing. It also said Doha was involved in the assassination of Abdul Fattah Younis, the former interior minister and opposition army commander during the revolt against Moammar al-Gadhafi in 2011.

The LNA also uncovered an intelligence cell run by Qatar in its embassy in Tunisia.

Spokesman for the army Ahmed al-Masmary added that Qatar took part in the murder of officers and army forces in Benghazi.

Qatar pumped in millions of dollars into Libya in order to corrupt society, bribe people and recruit tribal members, he continued.

Doha transferred a number of wanted terrorists to Libya, including Anis al-Houti, who fought against the Algerian army before Qatar returned him to Libya in 2011. He was later killed by the LNA.

Benghazi was witness to Qatari operations against the Libyan army, al-Masmary said, lamenting that the world had ignored Haftar’s past warnings that Qatar has long backed terrorism in Libya.

This is why the Libyan people had years ago severed ties with Doha.