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Libya: Dbeibeh announces death of 'coup'

Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh in Tripoli, Libya on 8 July 2021 [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]
Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh in Tripoli, Libya on 8 July 2021 [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

The Prime Minister of the Libyan Government of National Unity (GNU), Abdel Hamid Dbeibeh, has announced that what he called the "coup project" has "committed political suicide". His announcement follows armed clashes in Tripoli between forces affiliated with the GNU and those supporting the Prime Minister elected by the parliament in Tobruk, Fathi Bashagha, hours after he arrived in the city to start the work of his government.

Dbeibeh has refused to hand over power except to a government that comes out of an elected parliament, after the implementation of the outcomes of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum. He stressed that "There is no future without elections."

The UN is involved in the dialogue taking place in Cairo to reach a consensus on a constitutional basis for holding parliamentary and presidential elections in Libya "as soon as possible".

Dbeibeh confirmed that he had agreed to open a safe corridor for Bashagha to leave the capital "for a simple reason, which is that a single drop of Libyan blood is more valuable than their authority and greed." He stressed that "the [GNU] continues to perform its duties as the only guarantee for the Libyans to hold elections… The government will continue until elections are held."

He assured foreign diplomatic missions that "the security situation is stable in Tripoli, and they can perform their tasks normally."

READ: Egypt calls for restraint amid Libya clashes

Meanwhile, Bashagha told a press conference in Sirte on Tuesday evening that he and his entourage left Tripoli to save lives without causing any casualties. "We did not move any force and did not use weapons, but rather intended to go alone without any escorts. We do not want bloodshed; for me, it is impossible to accept rule with bloodshed. We will fight and continue until we reach our goal, but by peaceful means."

He confirmed that he had entered Tripoli in two civilian cars with no weapons. "It is my right, as an elected prime minister [elected in March] by the legislative authority to go to the capital," he insisted. "The government will start its duties from Sirte tomorrow, and we will move to Tripoli if we are sure that our entry will not cause a single drop of blood to be shed."

Bashagha accused the GNU in a series of tweets of "using force" in the face of peace. "Although we entered the capital without using violence and force of arms and were received by the people of Tripoli, we were surprised by the dangerous military escalation carried out by armed groups affiliated with the expired government." He pointed out that "endangering the safety of civilians is a crime punishable by law, and we cannot contribute to compromising the security of the capital and its residents."

A security source from the Libyan army's 444th Brigade told Anadolu on Tuesday that the brigade commander escorted Bashagha from Tripoli. The anonymous source added, "The position of the Brigade is clear regarding causing conflict; we reject bloodshed and the destabilisation of security."

With two governments in Libya, fears are growing that the country is sliding back into civil war. The people of Libya hope that holding parliamentary and presidential elections will contribute to ending the armed conflict that has plagued their country for years.

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