East­ern Libya de­clares semi­au­tonomous re­gion

The Washington Times Daily - - World -

BENG­HAZI | Tribal lead­ers and mili­tia com­man­ders de­clared the cre­ation of a semi­au­tonomous re­gion in oil-rich east­ern Libya on Tues­day, a uni­lat­eral move that op­po­nents fear will be the first step to­ward out­right di­vi­sion of the coun­try six months af­ter the fall of Moam­mar Gad­hafi.

The thou­sands of rep­re­sen­ta­tives of ma­jor tribal lead­ers, mili­tia com­man­ders and politi­cians who made the dec­la­ra­tion at a con­fer­ence in Beng­hazi said the move is not in­tended to di­vide the coun­try and that they want their state to be part of a united Libya.

The con­fer­ence said the east­ern state, known as Barqa, would have its own par­lia­ment, po­lice force, courts and cap­i­tal — Beng­hazi, the coun­try’s sec­ond largest city — to run its own af­fairs.

Un­der their plan, for­eign pol­icy, the na­tional army and oil re­sources would be left to a cen­tral, fed­eral gov­ern­ment in Tripoli. Barqa would cover nearly half the coun­try, from cen­tral Libya to the Egyp­tian bor­der in the east and down to the borders with Chad and Su­dan in the south.

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