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Libyan GNC considers withdrawing ambassadors from Egypt and UAE

September 5, 2014 at 11:32 am

The foreign affairs committee of the General National Congress (GNC), Libya’s former interim government which reconvened at the end of August, submitted a draft decision to the chairman on Thursday regarding the withdrawal of Libya’s ambassadors from Cairo and Abu Dhabi, news agency Anadolu reported, citing unnamed sources.

According to the sources quoted by Anadolu, the GNC’s chairman, Nouri Abu Sahmeen, has not yet ratified the decision, as of Thursday afternoon.

Earlier reports surfacing in the Libyan media regarding the GNC’s draft decision prompted the Abu Dhabi ambassador, Aref al-Nayed, to post a statement on his Facebook page condemning the “impersonation” of the government by a number of individuals who issue statements on behalf of his embassy. The Abu Dhabi embassy, he said, only represents the elected parliament convening in Tobruk and the government of AbdullahAl-Thinni.

Since the ouster of longtime dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has been plagued by political polarisation between Nationalist and Islamist forces. This has left the country with two conflicting authorities: first, the parliament in Tobruk and Abdullah Al-Thinni’s government along with the army commander Abdelrazek Alnazouri, while the second is the Libyan National Congress with the appointed head of government Omar Alhasy and the resigned army chief of staff Jadallah Alobeidy.

Islamists in Libya accuse the Tobruk parliament of backing the Al-Karama Operation, an anti-Islamist offensive launched earlier this year by former general, Khalifa Haftar, from his base in Benghazi in eastern Libya.

The GNC camp opposes the Al-Karama Operation, backing the Islamist-aligned Libyan Dawn militia, which regained control of Tripoli Airport last week from Haftar’s troops.

Both Egypt and the UAE have been accused of carrying out aerial strikes against Libyan Dawn troops in Tripoli with the collaboration of the two Libyan ambassadors, heightening tensions between them and the GNC.

While Egypt denied the accusations, the UAE announced it arrested a number of Libyan political figures allied with the GNC. Members of the GNC have claimed the UAE is holding 30 detainees, while the Libyan ambassador says only three are in detention and has not clarified the basis of the charges against them.