Libyan PM "ready to resign", cabinet reshuffle imminent
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan on Wednesday said he was ready to step down if the National Congress will immediately appoint someone to take the job, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.
Zeidan’s government is struggling with militias and former rebels who spearheaded the uprising that ousted Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, protests from rival political and ethnic groups and a seizure of oil terminals by pro-autonomy factions.
“The cabinet will be appointed, not based on parties and political groups, but will be formed with technocrats and independent experts,” Zeidan said, flanked by his cabinet who were giving accounts of their ministry’s performances, according to Reuters.
The government’s major immediate challenge is tackling a group of armed protesters who for six months have controlled important oil terminals in the east, cutting off crude exports and the vital state revenues they generate.
Armed groups demanding autonomy for eastern Libya have invited foreign companies to buy oil from ports they have seized in defiance of the central government in Tripoli.
Zeidan threatened on Wednesday to sink any ship trying to export oil outside government control.
“Any country or company or gang trying to send tankers to take oil from the seized ports without coordinating with the NOC, we will deal with them, even if we are forced to destroy or sink them,” Zeidan said. “We warn all countries there will be no leniency.”
The development compounded the challenges facing Zeidan’s weak central government as various armed factions demand political power and a bigger share of the vast North African country’s oil wealth.