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US Sanctions HoR President for Blocking Formation of Unity Government

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)

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The United States Treasury Department sanctioned Aguila Saleh, the President and speaker of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) on Friday for his repeated efforts at obstructing the formation of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

Saleh “is responsible for stalling political progress in Libya. Today’s action sends a clear message that the US Government will continue to target those who undermine the peace, security, and stability of Libya,” said John E. Smith, Acting director of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) reported Reuters.

The sanctions placed on Saleh means that all of the politician’s property and interests in the US are blocked, and that Americans are prohibited from carrying out transactions with him.

The US Treasury said in a statement that the action they took against the speaker of the HoR “emphasizes the US government’s commitment to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), which created the GNA on December 17, 2015, and demonstrates that the US government will not tolerate actions by individuals who undermine the political transition in Libya.”

On Saturday Saleh said that he rejected the formation of the GNA’s operation room to lead in the military campaign against ISIS forces in the area between Misrata and Sirte and criticized the GNA for moving forward without being given a vote of confidence by the HoR.

However, according to the LPA, the eastern-based HoR, which was designated as the GNA’s legislative body, was supposed to give its vote of confidence to the GNA’s cabinet in January, two weeks after agreeing to all the terms stated in LPA.

An HoR member said that Saleh has continually blocked members from holding meetings in Tobruk to give their symbolic vote of confidence to the GNA.

In April, the EU sanctioned Saleh along with President Nouri Abusahmain, and Prime Minister Khalifa al-Ghwell of Libya’s other rival government based in Tripoli, the General National Congress’ (GNC) for their roles in obstructing Libya’s political transition to the new unity government.

The international community sees the unification of Libya under the GNA as the country’s best hope at creating a unified and democratic Libya which is able to defeat the growing ISIS threat and stop the influx of refugees who use the North African country as their destination point to cross the Mediterranean for Europe.

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