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Dbeibah Kicks off Visit to Tunisia amid Dispute over His Govt's Legitimacy

Dbeibah Kicks off Visit to Tunisia amid Dispute over His Govt's Legitimacy

Wednesday, 27 April, 2022 - 06:00
Head of Libya’s Government of National Unity (GNU) Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah attends the graduation ceremony of a batch of Libyan army cadets, in Tripoli, Libya, Feb. 8, 2022. (AP)

Head of Libya’s Government of National Unity (GNU) Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah arrived in Tunisia on Tuesday for a one-week official visit amid a dispute back home over the legitimacy of his government.

Dbeibah is leading a high-level delegation that includes chief of staff of western Libya forces Mohamed Haddad, Interior Minister Khaled Mazen, Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Shoubi, Minister of Marine Resources Adel Sultan, Minister of Economy and Trade Ali Al-Abed, deputy head of the Internal Security Agency Lotfi al-Harari and the Counter-Terrorism Force Commander Major General Muhammad Al-Zein.

This is Dbeibah’s second visit to Tunisia. He had visited the North African nation on September 9, accompanied by the Ministers of Health and Interior and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs.

"The Libyan delegation will meet with Tunisian President Kais Saied and Prime Minister Najla Bouden," Libyan sources close to Dbeibah said.

Bilateral meetings will be held between several Libyan ministers and their Tunisian counterparts.

The delegation will discuss several files, including the political situation in Libya.

In February, Libya's east-based House of Representatives named a new prime minister, former interior minister Fathi Bashagha, to lead a new interim government. The lawmakers claimed the mandate of Dbeibah, who is based in the capital, Tripoli, expired when the election failed to take place.

But Dbeibah insists he will remain prime minister until elections are held, and the High State Council, which advises the interim government, criticized the parliament’s decision to name a new prime minister before holding elections.

Talks in Tunisia will also discuss the joint border crossings, in addition to strengthening economic relations, commercial exchanges and opening Libyan markets to Tunisian labor.

Observers believe the elections file will dominate the Libyan delegation’s visit to Tunisia, which comes few days after Dbeibah visited Algeria.

In Algiers, he met with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who expressed his support for holding the elections.

Tunisia has in recent years sought a neutral stance and avoided taking sides in the Libyan conflict.

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