By Saber Ayyub.
Tripoli, 21 March 2016:
There have been renewed clashes in Tripoli today. They were again in Tripoli’s Bab Ben Ghashir . . .[restrict]district, scene of some of Saturday’s fighting between the Samoud Front and Furqa Al-Sadisa (Sixth Division). Many streets in central Tripoli heading east are blocked including Saidi Street, which runs past Tripoli Central Hospital.
The reasons for the clashes are unclear. However, tensions have been growing between pro- and anti-national unity government supporters amid expectations of the imminent arrival in the city of prime minister designate Faiez Serraj and the Presidency Council.
It is thought that this morning’s fighting may be a continuation of that on Saturday. Camp 77, held by the Samoud Front, is in the area where the fighting is taking place. Samoud opposes the GNA while Furqa is said to support it.
Meanwhile, there is no sign yet of Serraj or the rest of the Presidency heading to Tripoli although his designated interior minister, Aref Khojja, is known to be there.
Last week, Serraj announced on TV he would go within days. He privately told diplomats that he would do so on Friday. To others he said he would go on Sunday or Tuesday. On Friday, he told French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault who was visiting Tunis that he would be going this week.
At present he remains in the Tunisian capital and is expected to stay there for tomorrow’s meeting of foreign ministers from Libya’s six neighbouring states even though Presidency Council member Musa Kuni has been reportedly designated to attend. The meeting is the latest of the ministers’ regular gatherings to assess the situation in Libya and try to coordinate policies. The last took place in Algiers in November.
Ahead of his much-heralded departure to Tripoli, Serraj has called on the two boycotting members of the Presidency, Ali Gatrani and Omar Al-Aswad to rejoin, saying that the it would be unthinkable without them. [/restrict]