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Libya: NTC Members seek to oust El-Keib Government | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- A number of members of the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) have revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that they are seeking to depose the provisional government, installing an alternative government in its place before the legislative elections scheduled to be held before end of June.

In a telephone interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, NTC member Abdul-Razzaq al-Aradi stressed that genuine moves are being made to depose the El-Keib government, which, he said, has failed to carry out any tangible achievements. Al-Aradi is regarded as one of those closest to NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, who assumed power in Libya after the overthrow and death of Muammar Gaddafi last October. Al-Aradi often posts a great deal of news and behind-the-scenes reports about the NTC on his Facebook and Twitter pages, prompting some Libyan activists to raise questions about the role he is playing, particularly as the NTC and the provisional government – formed in November – already have designated official spokespeople.

However, NTC sources speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat denied that Abdul-Jalil would endorse any move to depose the incumbent government. Against this background, government sources close to El-Keib have dismissed such reports as mere attempts to discredit and embarrass the government. They pointed out that this is not the first time certain parties have used allusions and leaks about the government, in a manner detrimental to political life in the country. They said it is unreasonable to dismiss a government whose leader won the majority of NTC members’ votes when he was appointed as the first prime minister in the post Gaddafi era.

The pro-NTC “Libya Al-Ahrar TV” channel had earlier revealed that 54 NTC members signed a memorandum calling for El-Keib to resign from his post. The channel cited anonymous sources as saying that a final decision on the memorandum will be made today, Tuesday 17th April. The sources claimed that Abdul-Jalil seeks to entrust Dr Ali Tarhouni, a former finance minister, with the post of prime minister. These developments emerged while El-Keib was on a state visit to the UAE as head of a government delegation consisting of his deputy, the ministers of foreign affairs, electricity, labor, finance, communications and economy, as well as Major General Yousef al-Manqoush, chief of staff of the Libyan army.

In a statement to a local television channel three days ago, El-Keib said that his government’s current goal is to advance the interests of the Libyan people, consolidate the security and stability of the country, and to move on from the revolution phase to a phase of state building. He described his government’s term in office as a short transitional phase, noting that “it is a phase for laying foundations and managing crises. We have inherited from the former regime an administrative apparatus that lacks training and qualifications.” He added that “Libya has huge potential represented in its youth who emerged after the revolution. The world was astonished by the revolution and the potential of the Libyan people and their capacity to re-activate production, particularly oil production.” He said that “oil production is now back to its pre-revolution levels, reaching 1.5 million barrels per day.”

In response to the criticism leveled at his government, including its slow efforts to handle the law disorder in certain Libyan cities, El-Keib said that the issue of security is the responsibility of everyone, not only the government. He added: “Nevertheless, the government has acted quickly to establish security and stability throughout Libya, particularly the swift moves we made in Al-Kufrah and Sabha with great results. We moved even faster in the areas of Zuwara, Raqadlin, and Al-Jumail.”

In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, Libyan sources denied a report about the possibility of a secret meeting being held between Gaddafi family members, who have settled in Algeria, and NTC Chairman Abdul-Jalil. A statement released by the Algerian presidential office said that Abdul-Jalil’s visit aims to enhance cooperation and consultation between Libya and Algeria, and develop ties in various fields. The statement also noted that Abdul-Jalil and his Algerian counterpart, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, will discuss the recent developments in the region.

Dr Saad al-Shalmani, an official spokesman for the Libyan Foreign Ministry, revealed that Abdul-Jalil’s talks with Algerian President Bouteflika will focus on several issues relating to bilateral cooperation, including security cooperation and border security, as both neighboring countries are linked by historical ties and common interests. According to the Libyan News Agency, al-Shalmani said that the visit provides an opportunity for consultation and coordination over several issues, including combating illegal immigration and smuggling.

It must be noted that relations were strained between Algeria and Libya after the outbreak of the Libyan revolution against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. Algeria was late to recognize the NTC – finally acknowledging it in September. Algeria was also opposed to NATO’s intervention in the Libyan crisis, and the NTC then accused Algeria of supporting Gaddafi sending mercenaries to fight alongside his forces. Furthermore, Algeria has provided a safe haven for Muammar Gaddafi’s daughter, Aisha, who has called for “a revolution against the new regime” in Tripoli. Two of Gaddafi’s sons, Muhammad and Hannibal, his wife Safiyah, and a number of his family members, mainly children, have also taken refuge in Algeria.