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November 22, 2011

Libyan Militia Leaders, Oil Execs Appointed in New Cabinet

Libyan militia leaders who helped to topple the late dictator Moammar Gadhafi in an uprising this year have won top security posts in a new Cabinet appointed by the country's National Transitional Council.

Interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib announced his Cabinet line-up in a news conference late Tuesday after weeks of negotiations. He granted the defense minister position to Osama al-Juwali, a militia leader from the western town of Zintan whose forces helped to drive Gadhafi out of Tripoli in August and captured his fugitive son Seif al-Islam last week in the southern desert.

Seif al-Islam has been detained in Zintan pending arrangements for a trial. Zintan militiamen had pressured the NTC to award a prominent Cabinet post to Juwali.

Keib handed the other major security post of interior minister to Fawzi Abdelali, a militia leader from the western city of Misrata, Libya's third-largest. Anti-Gadhafi militiamen in Misrata resisted a months-long siege by Gadhafi forces during the uprising and later went on the offensive by storming into Tripoli, the dictator's power base.

Libyan oil executives also won key positions in the transitional government. Libya's new finance minister is Hassan Ziglam, a former executive at Libya's National Oil Corporation, while the new Libyan oil minister is Abdelrahman bin Yazza, a former executive with Italian energy company ENI, the biggest investor in Libya's oil sector.

Libya's ruling NTC also appointed a little-known diplomat, Ashour Bin Hayal, as foreign minister.

Prime Minister Keib told the news conference that he tried to form a Cabinet that will represent the interests of all of Libya's regions.

"We aim to achieve the justified dreams and goals of the Libyan people. Dreams of freedom, equality, development, justice and the establishment of a country of law with organizations that will improve education and increase the level of the Libyan people's income, provide equal chances to all in society," he said. "We want no separation by race nor sex and we will work on raising the next generations on the principles of the Islamic religion and teach them how to love and how to participate in making human civilization richer."

Keib said the transitional government will seek to achieve the dreams of the Libyan people for freedom, equality, development and justice under the rule of law. He also said the government will not discriminate on the basis of race or sex and will be guided Islamic principles.

Meanwhile, International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo visited Libya Tuesday to discuss the fate of Seif al-Islam, who faces ICC charges for crimes against humanity for involvement in suppressing the uprising against his father. Ocampo said Seif al-Islam can be tried inside Libya rather than in The Hague, as long as a Libyan trial meets ICC standards.  He made the comment after meeting with Libyan officials.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.