Libyan ruling council suspends Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush | New

Libya’s transitional government rejects the council’s decision, sparking tensions ahead of scheduled elections.

Libya’s ruling presidential council suspended Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush for “administrative violations” and banned her from traveling.

A council spokeswoman said the three-member body suspended Mangoush on Saturday for carrying out foreign policy without coordination with the council.

The spokesperson did not provide further details.

There was no immediate comment from the foreign minister, but Libya’s transitional government of national unity rejected the council’s decision in a statement early Sunday.

The statement, posted on the government’s Facebook page, praised the minister’s efforts, saying she would perform her duties normally.

He also said that the presidential council has “no legal right to appoint or revoke the appointment of members of the executive branch, to suspend them or to investigate them,” adding that these powers are exclusive to the Prime Minister.

Elections, Lockerbie attack

The infighting in Tripoli comes about six weeks before the scheduled elections and days before an international conference in the French capital to push for the holding of presidential and legislative elections as scheduled on December 24.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will join French President Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders at the Paris conference on November 12.

Libyan expert Emadeddin Badi linked Mangosh’s suspension to comments she made about the 1988 Lockerbie bombing in a BBC interview this week.

During the interview, Badi said Mangoush had “hinted at a potential extradition” of the man wanted for the bombing – Abu Agila Mohammed Masud – saying that “positive results are coming” in his case.

The United States alleges that Masud, a former member of the Libyan intelligence service, assembled and programmed the bomb that detonated Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988, killing 270 people.

Badi, an analyst at the Geneva-based Global Initiative, said another factor in Mangoush’s suspension was tensions between Libyan politicians over the elections.

“Behind the scenes, there are growing tensions between political actors (…) which are catalyzed by the December 24 election deadline,” he said.

Libya has been in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. He was captured and killed by an armed group in October.

The oil-rich country has for years been divided between rival governments, one based in the capital, Tripoli, and the other in the east of the country. Each camp is supported by different foreign powers and militias.

The current interim government was appointed in February after months of UN-backed negotiations to lead the country until elections. It comprises the presidential council and a cabinet of ministers which manages day-to-day affairs.

The disagreement over the council’s suspension of the foreign minister is likely to increase tensions between rival factions in Libya as they attempt to work together after years of conflict.

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