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Libya’s Bashagha to hold cabinet meeting in Sebha

Libya’s parliament-appointed prime minister, Fathi Bashagha, will hold a first meeting of his cabinet in the southern city of Sebha on Thursday, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

The eastern-based parliament appointed Bashagha in March but the sitting prime minister, Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, refused to cede power leading to a prolonged standoff between the two rival governments.

Bashagha and his cabinet have not been able to enter the capital Tripoli, where Dbeibah has the support of some armed factions, and has repeatedly said he will not try to do so using force.

Bashagha was interior minister in the Tripoli-based government during Libya’s most recent bout of conflict before a 2020 ceasefire, helping it to stave off a 14-month assault by eastern forces.

However, his government is now backed by the most powerful figures in eastern Libya including military commander Khalifa Haftar and parliament speaker Aguila Saleh.

Dbeibah was appointed to head an interim unity government through a UN-backed process last year that included a military ceasefire and was aimed at holding an election in December.

The parliament said his term of office expired when the election failed to take place and appointed Bashagha to replace him with elections postponed until next year.

Dbeibah rejected that, saying his mandate remains in force, while some other Libyan political bodies said the parliament’s moves were illegitimate.

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