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article imageOp-Ed: Libyan General National Congress condemns EU sanctions

By Ken Hanly     Apr 2, 2016 in World
Tripoli - The Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC) is following in the footsteps of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) and eastern notables who have criticized the sanctions imposed by the EU on its president, Ageela Saleh.
Saleh was sanctioned for supposedly blocking a vote of confidence on the UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA). However, earlier this week, Saleh twice pleaded with members to show up so there would be a quorum but to no avail. The HoR not only criticized the EU sanctions but also threated the GNA with the separation of Cyrenaica, or eastern Libya, if HoR demands were not met. The GNC also criticized the EU sanctions on Abu Sahmain, president of the GNC and also Khalifa Al-Ghwell, who were singled out for not getting the GNC to vote approval of the Libya Political; Agreement (LPA) and the GNA.
The GNC called the decision biased. It is not known how many of the GNC signed on to the statement. President Abu Sahmain is said to be at the GNC's offices that are surrounded by armed gunmen loyal to him. While a recent article claimed the GNC government simply vanished, the GNC obviously still exists but it does not seem to be launching any significant opposition to the GNA and no longer claims that the GNA must leave Tripoli or the members will be arrested.
The GNC also complained about the verbal abuse by pro-GNA protesters of Sadek Al-Gharyani, the Grand Mufti of Libya, as the GNC sees it. The GNC statement called the protesters ill-mannered and said that the Mufti is "an icon for Libya and the February revolution." A group of lawyers in the UK have threatened to take action against Gharyani for threatening jihad against members of the GNA. However, Gharyani has softened his tone and even suggests in a recent article that the GNA would be welcome in Tripoli given it made certain amendments to the Libya Political Agreement. Unlike Sahmain and Ghwell, Gharyani is believed to have assets in the UK.
The Libyan League of Ulema criticized any call for jihad against the GNA. However the Muslim Scholar's Association said it appreciated the firm stand taken by Libyan Grand Mufti Al-Gharyani. Unlike the reaction in the east that is a huge threat to the GNA, the GNC reaction will likely have little effect. Support for the GNA appears to be growing quickly in the west of Libya and to some degree in the south as well.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about GNC government libya, EU sanctions in Libya, Libyan Grand Mufti
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