Libya threatens to use 'force' to foil east autonomy bid
Islam Times - The leader of Libya's transitional government, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, has threatened to use force in order to foil autonomy bid for eastern sector of the oil-rich North African country.
“We are not prepared to divide Libya. They should know that there are infiltrators and remnants of Gaddafi's regime trying to exploit them now and we are ready to deter them, even with force,” Abdel Jalil said on Wednesday during a conference in the western city of Misratah.
Abel Jalil’s warning comes as day after a meeting attended by some 3,000 people in the eastern city of Benghazi declared the oil-rich region of Cyrenaica autonomous, raising fears of the country’s breakup following the downfall and killing of former Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, in October 2011.
"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 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.
Abdel Jalil 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," Abdel Jalil 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.
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