Libya's NTC announces new cabinet

Goals of 24-member council of ministers include achieving "security, stability and restoration of normal life".

     Abdurrahim El-Keib, Libya's prime minister, says his new cabinet will reopen schools and pay overdue salaries[AFP

    Libya's interim government has named a new cabinet featuring several unexpected appointments that suggested the line-up was meant to calm rivalries between regional factions.

    "All of Libya is represented," Abdurrahim El-Keib, Libya's prime minister, told a news conference on Tuesday night as he unveiled the line-up. "It is hard to say that any area is not represented."

    In forming a government, the National Transitional Council (NTC) faced the tricky task of trying to reconcile regional and ideological interests whose rivalry threatens to upset the country's fragile stability, three months after the end of former leader Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule.

    El-Keib will head a 24-member government which will include such portfolios as the ministry of martyrs, wounded and missing people, and a ministry of civilian society.

    A statement released when the new ministers were announced read: "This provisional government aims to achieve the following: first security, stability and restoration of normal life by providing basic social services, the return of children to their schools and the payment of [overdue] salaries." 

    Rebuilding institutions

    Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught, reporting from Tripoli, said the absence of some prominent names does not mean those excluded from the new ministerial roster will be left out of politics.

    "This is an interim cabinet designed to steer the government to elections. This [cabinet] may take another form when the permanent government forms," McNaught said.

    The new cabinet will include as defence minister Osama Al-Juwali, commander of the military council in the town of
    Zintan. Juwali appeared to have staked his claim to the job after his forces captured Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, at the weekend and flew him to their Zintan.

    The foreign minister was named as Ashour Bin Hayal, a little-known diplomat originally from Derna, in eastern Libya.
    His appointment was unexpected as diplomats had predicted the job would go to Libya's deputy envoy to the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi, who had rallied diplomats to turn against Gaddafi early in the revolt.

    The decision to leave out Dabbashi was a "surprise", but was probably motivated by the need to appease representatives of Derna, a big anti-Gaddafi power base, one diplomat told Reuters news agency.

    Hassan Ziglam, an oil industry executive, was named as finance minister, and Abdulrahman Ben Yezza, a former executive with Italian oil major ENI, was made oil minister.

    'Real opportunity'

    The international community has welcomed the formation of the new cabinet.

    A spokesman for Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said: "The EU has been and will be steadfast in its support for Libya and its people and is confident that the interim leadership now in place will enable the country to embark on the political transition ahead."

    William Hague, the British foreign secretary, went further as he pledged the UK's deep commitment to the fledgling government.

    "I look forward to working with the transitional government as it addresses a number of challenges including stabilising the country, ensuring law and order, restarting the economy, preparing for elections and building a state based on human
    rights. The UK will be a strong partner for Libya in this work."

    Hague continued: "This represents a real opportunity to achieve justice for some of the wrongs committed by the Gaddafi regime, for Britain as well as the people of Libya."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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