Libya’s Deputy Prime Minister Ibrahim Abu Jinnah on Tuesday slammed a move by militias loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar to block a government meeting in the eastern city of Benghazi.
“It is regrettable that any side seeks to perpetuate the state of political division, the disintegration of the state and blackmailing its institutions,” Abu Jinnah said in a statement on his Facebook account.
On Sunday, Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh canceled a visit to Benghazi scheduled for Monday after militias loyal to Haftar cordoned off Benina Airport.
Dbeibeh was expected to hold a cabinet meeting in Benghazi, visit some institutions and regions and examine the condition of areas damaged by the country’s civil war.
Abu Jinnah is the first government official to condemn the actions of pro-Haftar militias.
The deputy premier said the blocking of the National Unity Government meeting presents an opportunity to “those seeking to upset the political process in Libya”.
Abu Jinnah, however, assured Libyans that the government’s stance to support stability in the country “becomes stronger” whenever there are attempts to sabotage the political process.
On Feb. 5, Libya’s rival political groups agreed during UN-mediated talks in Geneva to form an interim government to lead the country to elections this December. Libyan delegates elected Mohammad Menfi to head a three-member Presidential Council and Dbeibeh as the new prime minister.
Libyans hope the government will end years of civil war that have engulfed the country since the ouster and killing of strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011.
*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar