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November 28, 2022

Libya PM trip to country’s east postponed after security team turned backWorld


Libya’s new Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh, speaks during a news conference in Tripoli, Libya February 25, 2021. REUTERS/Hazem Ahmed

The Libyan government postponed the prime minister’s first visit to the east of the country late Sunday, hours after an advance security team was turned back from Benghazi airport, a source told AFP.

A cabinet meeting scheduled for Monday in the city would also have marked national unity government leader Abdulhamid Dbeibah’s first trip to Libya’s east, a bastion of military strongman Khalifa Hafter.

But on Sunday a spokesperson said preparations were underway to arrange another date, without giving a reason for the postponement.

The announcement came several hours after a government security team was turned away by local authorities at Benghazi airport, forcing them to get back on their plane and return to the capital Tripoli, a local security source told AFP.

Dbeibah was selected earlier this year through a UN-backed inter-Libyan dialogue to lead the country to national elections in December 2021.

Libya has been mired in chaos since dictator Moamer Kadhafi was deposed and killed in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.

Dbeibah’s government replaced two rival administrations based in Tripoli and the country’s east, the latter loyal to Hafter, whose forces tried but failed to seize the capital in a 2019-20 offensive.

The rival authorities have given their backing to the new administration, adding to tentative hopes that Libya can exit a decade of crisis.

Dbeibah had previously announced his intention to hold cabinet meetings in different cities across the country, most notably in Benghazi, Libya’s second city and one of Hafter’s strongholds.

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