Libya’s Tripoli government declares a state of emergency

Libya’s Tripoli government declares a state of emergency

BENGHAZI – The Associated Press
Libya’s Tripoli government declares a state of emergency

AFP photo

Libya’s National Salvation government in Tripoli has declared a state of emergency after reports that four members of the rival United Nations’ unity government have arrived.

In a statement, which was signed by the prime minister in Tripoli, Khalifa Ghwell, the National Salvation government in Tripoli said March 24 that it tasked the Defense Ministry, militias and security apparatus to “increase security patrols and checkpoints.”

The Tripoli government - one of Libya’s three governments and which is backed by militias - has warned before of the United Nations’ attempts to install a government in the capital.

The west has pinned hope for resolving Libya’s chaos and blocking the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) growth there on the unity government, which is brokered by the United Nations and headed by Fayez Serraj, who is yet to enter the capital later this month.

On March 23, the U.N. envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, said he had been forced to cancel a flight to Tripoli because he had not been granted landing rights by the self-declared government there. 

Kobler said he had intended to visit the Libyan capital to “pave the way” for a U.N.-backed unity government to move there from Tunis. Serraj had said the week before that such a move was imminent. 

Libya has two sets of rival parliaments and governments, one in Tripoli and one in the east. 

A unity government was formed under a plan to end Libya’s simmering conflict, but has faced stiff opposition from hardliners on both sides of Libya’s political divide. 

Earlier this month the unity government called for an immediate transfer of power. But Ghwell warned it not to move, and the eastern government said it should first secure a long-delayed vote of approval from the internationally recognized parliament in the east. 

Seraj has said that his government would be able to move to Tripoli after a security plan was agreed with police and military forces, as well as armed groups. 

But the security situation in the Libyan capital remains fickle, and there have been repeated clashes between armed groups.