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Libya's Interim Prime Minister Sets Plans to Step Down

Mahmoud Jibril (file photo)
Mahmoud Jibril (file photo)
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Libya's interim prime minister said he would leave his post once Moammar Gadhafi's hometown is captured as the National Transitional Council Monday reappointed most of its top figures.

Meanwhile, fighters loyal to the TNC prepared to launch a final assault on the former leader's enclave of Sirte, where they traded fire with Gadhafi's loyalists still holed up in the coastal town.

It is the buildup to what is expected to be the final push to capture the city as a two-day ceasefire to allow civilians to flee the city is drawing to a close.

With Libya's security situation still unresolved, the TNC's top leaders Mustafa Abdel Jalil and Mahmoud Jibril held a press conference to announce that the group's executive committee was being reappointed temporarily.

Jibril, the interim prime minister, will continue to head the committee until the formation of an interim government after the fall of Sirte. Jibril said once the military situation resolved itself, he would no longer be needed for the unity of the country.

Jibril stressed the importance of Libya resuming its oil output to open a much-needed revenue stream.

Jibril says that it will take a year or more for oil production to reach pre-revolution levels, but that output is nevertheless increasing more than expected.

TNC leader Jalil said that the NTC will keep oversight of the oil ministry until it returns to control of the Libyan National Oil Company in the next week.

The NTC's moves hinge on taking control of Sirte.

Amid sporadic clashes between Gadhafi's loyalists and TNC fighters, civilians continued to trickle out of the besieged port city. Red Cross spokeswoman Diba Fakhr said hospitals are facing a major crisis:

Fakhr said doctors at the main Avicenna Hospital are working amid shortages of medical supplies, oxygen, and water, after storage tanks were shelled.

Meanwhile, a TNC military commander in Benghazi announced that 400 shoulder-fired rockets from Libya's former armed forces that dated back to the 1970's were being destroyed. A thousand more Russian- and Bulgarian-made rockets remain missing.

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Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
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Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
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