Libya unity govt tells protesters no foreign base planned

AFP , Thursday 17 Aug 2023

Libya's UN-recognised unity government on Thursday dismissed accusations it had promised part of Al-Khoms to its ally Turkey as a naval base after days of protests in the port city.

Abdelhamid Dbeibah
File Photo: Libya s Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah during a press conference in the capital Tripoli. AFP


"What is being said about the state ceding or authorising the use of the maritime port of Al-Khoms as a foreign naval base is incorrect and without foundation," government spokesman Mohamed Hamuda said in a dockside visit, accompanied by top naval and port officials.

His comments followed days of protests in the city 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of Tripoli, during which access roads to the docks have been blocked with burning tyres.

Calling on residents to exercise restraint, Hamuda warned that anyone who harmed the public interest would face prosecution.

Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah "attaches great importance" to the port, one of the busiest in Libya, and has plans to expand it to boost foreign trade, the spokesman said.

Libya has seen more than a decade of stop-start conflict since a NATO-backed revolt toppled longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, with a myriad of militias forming opposing alliances backed by foreign powers.

Turkey has been the key supporter of Dbeibah's Tripoli-based government which vies for authority with another in the east backed by military General Khalifa Haftar.

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