By Libya Herald reporter.
Benghazi, 17 May 2017:
House of Representatives President Ageela Saleh is reported saying that the reason he did not attend the third anniversary celebrations of Operation Dignity yesterday in Tocra was because he had an important meeting to attend in Umm Al-Rizm, a small town between Derna and Tobruk.
The statement is seen as being in response to a growing wave of questions on social media as to why he did not turn up. Initially it was reported that he had done so and widely-shared images appeared to show him arriving for the celebrations yesterday. They were, in fact, taken the day before, at the rehearsal for the event when he did meet with chief of staff Major-General Abdul Razzaq Al-Nazhouri.
Despite the explanation, a number of social media pages have claimed the no-show was because of concerns about a possible confrontation between his guards and LNA security. This, however, has not been confirmed. Other reports spoke of Saleh having arrived late for the celebrations and not being allowed in.
This evening it was reported that Nazhuri had travelled to Guba to speak to Saleh.
The news comes as the US renewed its sanctions on Saleh for another year. They were first issued last May because the HoR president was “responsible for stalling political progress in Libya” by blocking votes in parliament.
A US Treasury statement said last year accused him of actively working to obstruct and delay the formation of the UN-backed government.
The EU has also sanctioned Saleh for similar reasons though he was allowed to visit Rome last month for breakthrough talks with State Council president Abdulrahmen Sewehli.