Libya torn between two parliaments

Libya's neighbors agreed not to intervene in Libyan affairs to end the chaos there

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Libya's former parliament, the General National Congress, named on Monday pro-Islamist figure Omar al-Hassi to form a "salvation government", An-Nabaa television station reported, in a challenge to the authority of the turbulent country’s new legislature.

The country’s new parliament based in Tobruk, some 1,600 kilometers from the capital Tripoli, dismissed the move as “meaningless.”

The Islamist-dominated GNC convened in Tripoli following an appeal by Islamists groups which contest the legitimacy of the new parliament, based in the eastern city of Tobruk for security reasons.

An-Nabaa gave no figure for the number of GNC members who voted to appoint Hassi.

The television station said earlier that the meeting had failed to reach the quorum of 94, although other reports said that more members had arrived later.

Hassi is a lecturer in political science at the University of Benghazi in eastern Libya.

He was the losing candidate in a GNC election in June for a new prime minister.

Ahmed Miitig was elected instead, but the supreme court ruled the process was unconstitutional and Abdullah al-Thani remained interim premier.

Islamists called for the GNC to reconvene after they accused parliament of complicity in air raids last week on Islamists battling to capture Tripoli international airport from the nationalist Zintan militia.

The Islamists claimed to have seized the airport and television pictures on Monday showed them apparently running rampage and celebrating their capture of the facility.

Earlier Monday, the Tobruk-based parliament named a new chief of staff to tackle armed militias that have claimed control of vast areas of the country.

"Col. Abdel Razzak Nadhuri was chosen by 88 out of 124 MPs present and promoted to the rank of general" on Sunday, parliament spokesman Mohammad Toumi told AFP.

Nadhuri replaces Gen. Abdessalam Jadallah al-Abidi, who was grilled by parliament on Aug. 10 on the army's inability to restore law and order to Tripoli and Benghazi, the country's two largest cities where militiamen have run rampant.

Parliament held Abidi responsible for the deteriorating security situation and blamed him for backing certain militias that in theory report to the army.

Libya's new chief of staff comes from Marj some 1,100 kilometers east of the capital.

Libya's neighbors

Libya's neighbors agreed on Monday not to intervene in Libyan affairs to end chaos and clashes in the oil producer, calling instead for a national dialogue, according to the final communique after a foreign ministers' meeting in Egypt.

"This joint initiative of the neighboring countries is based on the main principles of ... non-intervention in Libya's domestic affairs," the statement read.

Libya's ambassador to Cairo had earlier demanded the international community to help protect oilfields, airports and other state assets.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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