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Britain pressing Tobruk to reach agreement with Muslim Brotherhood: Libyan minister - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Nouri Abusahmain, the head of Libya's General National Congress (GNC) (R) meets with Bernardino Leon (L) Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) for Libya, in Tripoli, December 8, 2014. (REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny)

Nouri Abusahmain, the head of Libya’s General National Congress (GNC) (R) meets with Bernardino Leon (L) Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) for Libya, in Tripoli, December 8, 2014. (REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—A Libyan cabinet minister slammed British policy in the North African country on Saturday, accusing the UK’s ambassador of lobbying the Tobruk parliament to reconcile with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a minister of premier Abdullah Al-Thani’s cabinet said: “The British are trying with all their power to save the Brotherhood and ensure their involvement in Libya’s political scene.”

The official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media, directed fierce criticism at Britain’s ambassador to Tripoli, Michael Aron, accusing him of trying to convince the internationally-recognized Libyan parliament and government in Tobruk of “forming an extended government” which includes its rivals.

Libya currently has had two rival governments based in different cities, after members from the transitional parliament, the General National Council, refused to accept the newly-elected government in June. In August, a collection of Islamist-led militias known as Libyan Dawn overran the capital Tripoli, prompting the new government to flee to the eastern city of Tobruk.

Thani rejected the British calls, prompting the Libya Dawn to send a delegation to the Arab League in a bid to reach a settlement to circumvent the Tobruk government, the minister told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Ever since the removal of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 Libya has struggled to reestablish the rule of law and the authority of its new central government across the whole of the country.

After months of feuding between rival militia groups which sprung up during and after the uprising against Gaddafi, the oil-rich North African country remains locked in an armed struggle between the Tobruk-based government, backed by renegade general Khalifa Haftar, and a coalition of Islamist militias, including Libya dawn and the Al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Al-Sharia.

Meanwhile, the EU said it may consider imposing new sanctions on Libya if UN Special Envoy Bernardino León thought it would help end the crisis, according to a report from Reuters news agency.

Reuters quoted an anonymous EU diplomat as saying that prospects of more sanctions were discussed but not in detail.

“The question is at what point does it [sanctions] become useful as a tool to incentivise [the Libyan parties]. At the point that León thinks that it would be useful, there will be a discussion,” the diplomat was quoted as saying.

León has been attempting to broker a political settlement between Libya’s various factions in a bid to bring some measure of stability to the country, hosting talks in the town of Ghadames on Libya’s western border.

A second round of the UN-sponsored talks among Libya’s political parties is scheduled to start in Awjila, 250 miles (400 kilometers) south of Benghazi, on Tuesday.