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article imagePresidency Council of GNA arrives in Tripoli by sea

By Ken Hanly     Mar 30, 2016 in World
Tripoli - The Presidency Council of the Libyan Government of National Accord headed by Prime Minister-designate Faiez Serraj went from Tunisia by boat to Bu Sitta naval base adjacent to Tripoli.
At first there were reports that it was a foreign ship but later reports claim it was a Libyan naval vessel. There are unconfirmed reports that they were accompanied by foreign security. One report said they sailed from Stax this morning on a Tunisian navy ship but the council claims they came on the Libyan ship Al-Sadada.
The Council was welcomed by naval and other officials according to a report by Fathi Ben Issa, Serraj's media advisor. The naval base may be used as the base for its operations until more suitable premises are found. Reportedly there are celebrations in the city. The Libya Herald, often opposed to the General National Council (GNC) says that it is not known where the main figures in the GNC are. The president Nuri Sahmain, the Grand Mufti Al-Ghariani, and prime minister Khalifa Ghwell had threatened to arrest members of the Presidency Council if they arrive. It remains to be seen if militia loyal to the GNC try to attack the naval base. There is always the possibility that the Islamic State will also launch an attack. The GNC declared a state of emergency in the capital some time ago.
An official told AFP that there were several members of the GNA cabinet with Serraj. At least one member of the Council is still boycotting the group. An official at the naval base said: "They had lunch and held a meeting with the officers of the naval base." On Twitter, Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Martin Kobler said that the arrival represented an important step in the transition of Libya's democratic transition and path to peace, security and prosperity. He called for a "peaceful and orderly handover of power". The arrival of the Council by air had been blocked by the GNC. Western governments are waiting for the GNA to ask them to intervene militarily to help fight the Islamic State and address the migrant problem.
The HoR is the legislature of the GNA. However, it does not recognize the legitimacy of the GNA and demands there be a vote on the GNA and an amendment to the Constitutional Declaration of 2011. The HoR continues to operate as a separate government. The president of the HoR, Ageela Saleh, has twice urged members of the HoR to come to Tobruk to vote on the GNA but there was no quorum on Monday or Tuesday.
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