BENGHAZI, Libya: The head of Libya’s rival government in the east called Sunday on the international community to recognise his administration which he says controls most of the North African country.
Libya, which plunged into chaos after the ouster and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi 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 United Nations.
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”.
Thani used to be Libya’s internationally recognised 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 troubled 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,” Thani said on Sunday.
In the political and security chaos that followed the collapse of Kadhafi’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 Thani’s government and the newly elected parliament into exile in the east.
“With our valiant army, we control more than 90% of the country,” Thani told AFP, 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”, Thani said. — AFP