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New Libya government next week

BENGHAZI, Sept 24 – Libya’s new government will be announced next week, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of the National Transitional Council, said on Saturday.

“The composition of the transitional government will be announced next week,” said Abdel Jalil, acknowledging that “differences in views” between members of the NTC and the executive office had delayed a deal.

“We are faced with the Libyan mentality that every tribe, every region, every city has a share in the new government,” Abdel Jalil said.

“But we still have not freed all territory and (fugitive leader Moamer) Kadhafi maintains all of his capacity to do harm, and may harm the Libyans and the entire world,” he said in the former rebel stronghold of Benghazi, in the east.

“The priority is the liberation of the territory and the restoration of security,” he added, referring to Kadhafi’s hometown Sirte and the town of Bani Walid, the only remaining bastions of the fallen leader’s forces.

As he spoke, a series of explosions rocked the capital Tripoli, with witnesses reporting that they appeared to be coming from an area where there is a naval base munitions dump.

The birth of a new government had been due last Sunday, but was postponed indefinitely because of haggling over portfolios.

One official had insisted Saturday’s meeting would be “decisive,” but another expressed doubts that differences could be overcome.

“There is still no agreement on the composition of the government or the number of its members,” said the sceptical official.

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“There are a lot of proposals,” he said, and while there could be a deal, “I fear we will not reach one given the current situation.”

After talks failed on Sunday, NTC number two Mahmud Jibril said much had been achieved and that he expected consultations to be “over quickly.”

At the time, there were expectations that Jibril, a former Kadhafi official, would keep his post as interim premier, while Ali Tarhuni was touted to become vice president in charge of economic affairs.

The defence portfolio was expected to go to Osama al-Juwili and oil to Abdel Rahman bin Yezza.

The NTC is also expected to look into getting women and young people into major roles as deputy ministers and directors general of ministries.

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