Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Possible Alliance between Ghwell, al-Thani against Libya’s U.N.-Backed Government | 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- Libya’s National Salvation government of Khalifa Ghwell is mulling to form an alliance with the government of Abdullah al-Thani that is allied with the parliament.

Such an alliance is aimed at confronting Libya’s U.N.-backed government of Fayez al-Sarraj.

A high-ranking official in the outgoing parliament – the General National Congress – that is based in the capital Tripoli told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper on Friday that Sarraj’s headquarters would be targeted by militias loyal to Ghwell.

“The whole of Tripoli will be retaken … It is just a matter of time,” said the official, who refused to be identified.

“Most of the ministries are now under the control of Ghwell’s government,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

This government is based in Tobruk, a port city on Libya’s eastern Mediterranean coast.

“We are seeking to resume the Libyan dialogue … and (form) a joint cabinet” with the government headed by al-Thani, the official added.

As expectations rose on a war between the armed militias loyal to the rival governments in Tripoli, the Presidential Council of Sarraj’s cabinet announced that it has tasked military units to protect state institutions.

The announcement came a day after the militias backing Ghwell seized four ministries in Tripoli.

The Council said the move of what it described as “outlaws” was a desperate attempt to shake the security of the Libyan capital.

Also Friday, Malta’s Foreign Minister George Vella said that Sarraj’s government has not accepted proposals by Rome aimed at cutting migrant flows to Italy, adding the two sides are “far apart” on the issue.

Vella, whose government holds the rotating chair of European Union ministerial councils, said he would brief his EU counterparts in Brussels on Monday on a long conversation he held on Thursday on behalf of the Union with the foreign minister of Sarraj’s government.

Asked by reporters about unpublished proposals which Rome has put to Sarraj in an effort to curb an expected surge in people taking to boats in Libya in the hope of being rescued and taken to Italy, Vella said the Libyans were considering the ideas. He declined to detail the Italian proposals beyond saying that their aim was to reduce the flow of migrants.