Eastern Libya declares semiautonomous region
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.