Libya’s ruling council says FM suspended, barred from travel

CAIRO (AP) — Libya’s ruling presidential council said Saturday that it suspended the county’s chief diplomat, accusing her of not coordinating foreign policy with the council.

The three-member body, which serves as Libya’s president, also barred Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush from traveling abroad pending an investigation into what it described as monopolization of foreign policy, according to a decree by the council.

A spokeswoman for the council did not elaborate circumstances behind the decision.

There was also no immediate comment the minister.

Saturday’s decision came more than six weeks before planned elections, and a few days ahead of an international conference in the French capital to push for holding elections as scheduled Dec. 24.

The vote still faces other challenges, including unresolved issues over the country’s elections laws and occasional fighting among armed groups. Other obstacles include the deep rift that remains between the country’s east and west and the presence of thousands of foreign fighters and troops.

Libya has been engulfed in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. He was captured and killed by an armed group two months later.

The oil-rich country was for years split between rival governments, one based in the capital, Tripoli, and the other in the eastern part of the country. Each side is backed by different foreign powers and militias.

The interim government now in charge was appointed in February after months of U.N.-backed negotiations to lead the country through elections. It includes the presidential council and a Cabinet of ministers that runs day-to-day affaires.

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