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Libya

Political stalemate persists as missiles target premier's house

UN envoy Bathily calls for all-party talks to agree roadmap for transition and elections

A missile attack apparently launched from the sea on the residence of Libya's Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dubaiba in Tripoli's upscale Hay Andalus neighbourhood on 31 March underlines the political impasse and the parlous state of national security. An armed unit, known as the 166 Brigade, closed streets in the areas and called in reinforcements.

Dubaiba was not at the property which a minister said was targeted with rocket-propelled grenades. The attack damaged the building but caused no casualties. Other reports suggested that the strike in was carried out using two drone-launched missiles. No group has claimed responsibility.

Representatives of Dubaiba's United Nations'-backed Government of National Unity and the eastern-based Government of National Stability maintain that they will follow up the talks in Cairo in March but there are few signs that this will lead to concrete results soon. The battles for spoils in the Tripoli administration continues with the appointment of new oil minister Khalifa Rajab Abdulsadek, close to the Dubaiba clan, replacing  Mohamed Aoun.

Aguila Saleh, the speaker of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR), which supports the GNS, and a close ally of Libyan National Army commander General Khalifa Belqasim Haftar, has said that he would 'not oppose any meeting that would help end the crisis,' in reference to UN envoy Abdoulaye Bathily's call to hold a meeting for all Libyan parties. Failure to agree on a unity government and a timetable for new elections 'won't lead to a new military clash or war between the Libyans,' he added.

The two sides agreed on the need for a unity administration and committed to forming a 'technical committee' but there is little sign of compromise on the mechanics of government and the organisation of elections.

Saleh has refused to budge on the GNS and HoR demands that a new coalition be based in Sirte, arguing that 'it is not under the threat of militias so it can function normally without pressure'.

Both sides insist that they should be in sole charge of supervising national elections. In February, Bathily told the UN Security Council that Libya's political leaders 'appear unwilling to resolve the outstanding politically contested issues that would clear the path to the long-awaited elections in Libya.'



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