Rival Libya govt seeks international recognition

:: The head of Libya’s rival government in the east has called on the international community to recognize his administration which he says controls most of the North African country.

Libya, which plunged into chaos after the ouster and killing of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, has two rival governments and parliaments, as well as several militia groups battling to control its oil wealth.

The Government of National Unity, based in the capital Tripoli, is backed by the UN.

However, in a telephone interview with AFP on Sunday, Abdullah Al-Thani said the provisional government based in the east “draws its legitimacy… from the ballot box.”

Al-Thani used to be Libya’s internationally recognized prime minister until the formation of the GNA led by Fayez Al-Sarraj, following an inter-Libyan political agreement signed in 2015 under the aegis of the UN.

The GNA has struggled to assert its authority over large parts of the country and has also been plagued by political infighting — including defections to its rival in the east.

“Our (provisional) government represents the three Libyan provinces — Tripoli, Cyrenaica and Fezzan — as well as all cities and regions… in total agreement,” Al-Thani said on Sunday.

In the political and security chaos that followed the collapse of Qaddafi’s regime nearly six years ago, parliamentary elections were held in 2014.

But militias unhappy with the results of the elections grouped under the “Fajr Libya” (Libya Dawn) banner and stormed Tripoli.

They installed a “national salvation” government, forcing Al-Thani’s government and the newly elected parliament into exile in the east.

“With our valiant army, we control more than 90 percent of the country,” Al-Thani said, referring to forces in the east dubbed the Libyan National Army and headed by strongman Khalifa Haftar.

The international community must “respect the will of the people and support the provisional government,” Al-Thani said.

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