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Bashagha thanks countries that boycotted consultative meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Tripoli




Alwasat - Cairo 6 days
alwasat radio

Major Arab states boycotted a ministerial meeting hosted by Libya's interim government on Sunday, with just five of the Arab League's 22 members sending their top diplomats and even the bloc's secretary general staying away.

The snub underlines Arab divisions over the Tripoli-based government, whose legitimacy is contested by a rival administration in the war-scarred country's east.

Regional heavyweights Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were not represented at all at the gathering -- a preparatory session ahead of a foreign ministers' meeting in Cairo.

Four members sent lower-ranking ministers or ambassadors while Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit was also absent.

The head of the rival government thanked Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE for "declining to take part in the theatrics through which the expired government tried to portray itself as being internationally recognized."

In a tweet, Fathi Bashagha also urged Libya's western neighbors Algeria and Tunisia, who did send foreign ministers to the meeting, to "review their policies towards Libya and not to be fooled by a government whose mandate has ended".

Najla Mangoush, foreign minister in the Tripoli-based administration, condemned what she called "attempts by certain sides to crush Libyans' desire to transform Arab solidarity into a reality".

Libya, which holds the rotating presidency of the organization, is "determined to play its role in the Arab League (and) rejects any attempt to politicize the League's founding documents," she said.

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