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Libyan Speaker Says US Pressuring him to Grant Confidence Vote to Sarraj | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Fayez al-Sarraj speaks at a press conference in Tripoli. Photograph: Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

Cairo- Libyan Speaker Aguila Saleh has revealed that he has come under US pressure to grant the Parliament’s vote of confidence to the government of Fayez al-Sarraj.

Saleh’s parliament takes the city of Tobruk, in the far east of Libya, as its headquarters.

Saleh said that the US envoy has asked him to grant the vote of confidence to Sarraj’s government, to which the speaker replied: “I only receive orders from the Libyan people.”

His answer prompted the diplomat to withdraw his request and apologize, Saleh was quoted as saying.

The speaker revealed that he had given a similar response to former US Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting, although he didn’t specify when such talks had taken place.

His remarks came as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he had spoken with al-Sarraj last week.

“A NATO expert team will meet with the Libyan authorities in the coming weeks to discuss how NATO can help Libya build institutions, including a modern ministry of defense, joint chief of staff and intelligence services…help to build institutions which are crucial to stabilize Libya,” said Stoltenberg at a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

“Italy is once again being a highly valued ally because you are really present, you are really helping to solve the crisis, the problems in Libya through the political process, but also through your presence in Libya. And we all are grateful for what you do there,” he added.

Sarraj, whose Government of National Accord is backed by the United Nations, has recently visited NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, asking for military and security assistance to help his government spread its authority on the capital Tripoli which has been under the control of armed militias for the past two years.

Sarraj’s government is also trying since March last year to form a unified Libyan force. But it has so far failed to do so.

Western leaders believe the GNA would impose stability in Libya which has been suffering from infighting since the eruption of the civil war in 2011.