Eastern Libyans seek autonomy

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The Independent Online

Tribal leaders and militia commanders in Benghazi have declared a semi-autonomous region in oil-rich eastern Libya.

The National Transitional Council, the interim central government based in Tripoli, has repeatedly voiced its opposition to the idea, warning that it could eventually lead to the break-up of the nation.

"This is very dangerous. This is a blatant call for fragmentation. We reject it in its entirety," said Fathi Baja, the head of the political committee of the NTC.

The Benghazi conference said the move was not intended to divide the country but was intended to end years of marginalisation.