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Libyan Brotherhood threatens to withdraw from government - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan speaks during a press conference on July 31, 2013 in Tripoli. (AFP PHOTO MAHMUD TURKIA)

Libyan prime minister Ali Zeidan speaks during a press conference on July 31, 2013, in Tripoli. (AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD TURKIA)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—The recent visit by Libya’s interim prime minister, Ali Zeidan, to Egypt has sparked off a political crisis in Libya, with its Brotherhood-affiliated Justice and Construction Party threatening to withdraw from the government in protest against the premier’s meeting with Egypt’s military leaders, including the commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

Zeidan’s unexpected visit provoked the ire of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has slammed the Egyptian military for mounting a military coup against Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in June.

The political bureau of the Islamist Justice and Construction Party is due to convene on Sunday to decide on the future of the Islamist party in the coalition government Zeidan has headed since November 2012, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned.

Islamist sources speaking on the condition of anonymity told Asharq Al-Awsat that there have been calls within the party to withdraw from the government and freeze the membership of elements affiliated with the party in the General National Congress, the country’s parliament and highest constitutional authority.

This is not the first time the party has threatened to withdraw from the interim government. The Islamist ministers of the interior and electricity have recently stepped down due to what they called Zeidan’s ‘interference’ in their affairs.

The party said in a statement that Zeidan’s visit to Egypt was a political maneuver to direct public attention away from domestic affairs.

The party expressed “its utter condemnation of the visit, which carries with it a blessing and an explicit acknowledgment of the military coup and its leaders. . . . The visit does not comply with the principles of the February 17 revolution in which tens of thousands of Libyans were martyred for the sake of freedom, respect of human rights and the success of democracy.”

The statement went on to say that the visit came as Zeidan’s government is facing demands from both inside and outside the General National Assembly that he resign over the “utter failure” of his government on all levels.

Zeidan came under public fire for failing to resolve the main issues in the country, and particularly his failure to build the military institution and the police force.

The deteriorating security situation in Libya has led to an almost complete suspension of its oil exports after militias took over the main ports and oil fields.

Insurgents have also destroyed electricity stations and cables and carried out several assassinations of key political figures.

The Egyptian Armed Forces’ spokesman announced on his Facebook page that Zeidan, who visited Egypt along with a senior Libyan delegation that included the ministers of defense and foreign affairs, met with Sisi and a number of other senior military figures.

In another development, the wife of Abdullah Al-Senussi, Libya’s former director of military intelligence, appealed to the United Nations and the UN Security Council to ensure the safety of her husband—who is currently in detention in Tripoli—as well as her daughter, who was kidnapped on Thursday.

Reportedly, the Maqarha Tribe to which Senussi belongs has started carrying out its threat to cut the water supplies off Tripoli.

A Libyan official speaking on the condition of anonymity told Asharq Al-Awsat that drinking water has been cut off most of the capital since early Friday.