Wednesday, March 07, 2012

NTC Says Some Arab States Aid Sedition in Eastern Libya

NTC says some Arab states aid sedition in eastern Libya

Wed Mar 7, 2012 3:35AM GMT

Libya’s interim government has accused some Arab countries of supporting and financing the tribal leaders, who have declared autonomy in the east of the country.

"Some sister Arab nations unfortunately are supporting and financing this sedition that is happening in the east," Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the National Transitional Council (NTC) chief, told reporters at a press conference in the capital Tripoli on Tuesday.

"What is happening today is the start of a conspiracy against the country...This is a very dangerous matter that threatens national unity," he warned.

Jalil, however, did not name the countries alleged to be involved.

Earlier on Tuesday, a meeting attended by some 3,000 people in the main eastern city of Benghazi declared the oil-rich region of Cyrenaica autonomous, raising fears of the country’s breakup following the downfall in October 2011 of the former dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.

"The interim council of Cyrenaica was established under the leadership of Sheikh Ahmed Zubair al-Senussi (an NTC member) to manage the region's affairs and defend the rights of its population," read a statement following the meeting.

Cyrenaica, where the country’s successful popular revolution against Gaddafi’s four-decade-long rule erupted last year, stretches from the central city of Sirte to the Egyptian border in the east.

It is also one of the three states, Libya was divided into in line with the 1951 constitution adopted under late King Idris.

During the meeting, tribal and political leaders also called for a return to federalism in Libya.

Advocates of federalism argue that the move will prevent further marginalization of the east, while opponents express fear that it will split up the country and mar reconciliation efforts.

However, Abdel Jalil, interim Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kiband, and other senior officials in Tripoli have rejected the federalist project and introduced a decentralization program instead.

Meanwhile, Libyans in several major cities, including Benghazi, took to the streets on Tuesday to reject the prospect of a federal system of government. They were carrying banners and shouting slogans, emphasizing national unity and reconstruction in the country, while asserting that Tripoli is the country’s only capital.

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