By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 2 April 2016:
Mayors, members of the House of Representatives (HoR) and tribal and other leaders from Cyrenaica have . . .[restrict]responded angrily both to the sanctions announced yesterday by the EU against HoR President Ageela Saleh and the arrival of the Presidency Council in Tripoli.
In statement following a meeting in Marj east of Benghazi today with Saleh as well as boycotting Presidency Council member Ali Gatrani, the Cyrenaican leaders rejected the sanctions, calling them a violation of Libyan sovereignty and at the same time stressed that the HoR was the only legitimate legislature. Until the Government of National Accord (GNA) was endorsed by the HoR, they said, there would be no cooperation with it. Before that happened, Serraj and the entire Presidency Council would have to go to Torbuk to present his government (something he already did, but it was rejected). In any event, the statement added, the Cyrenaicans would not accept any government in Tripoli that was protected by militias.
The meeting sought to garner support from the two main political tendencies in Cyrenaica – those backing federalism and those backing the national army. It noted that the Libyan National Army and its leadership under General Khalifa Hafter was “a red line” and had to be supported. However, it also said that if the international community and the Presidency Council ignored their demands they would campaign for self-determination for Cyrenaica.
Despite the separatist threat, is thought that the statement has the full support of General Khalifa Hafter. Not only is Marj, his operations bases, fully under his control, Gatrani who was his representative on the Presidency Council, is widely seen as his public political mouthpiece. [/restrict]