Qatar says diplomat's comments criticizing Tripoli fake: Libya

TRIPOLI Sat Jun 14, 2014 4:26pm EDT

Libya's new Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq speaks during a news conference at the office of the Prime Minister in Tripoli on June 7, 2014.   REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

Libya's new Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq speaks during a news conference at the office of the Prime Minister in Tripoli on June 7, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Ismail Zitouny

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TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Qatar has told Libya that comments attributed to Doha's ambassador denouncing a Libyan court ruling were fake after Tripoli "urgently" requested an explanation, Libya's state news agency LANA said on Saturday.

There has been an outcry on Libyan social media and news websites about alleged comments of the Qatari ambassador on his twitter account criticizing a Supreme Court ruling, which had declared last week the election of Ahmed Maiteeq as Libya's new prime minister had violated the constitution.

Maiteeq was elected last month in a chaotic vote with the backing of independent lawmakers and the Muslim Brothers, an Islamist group that has enjoyed Qatar's backing in Egypt but which has been declared a terrorist organization in Cairo.

"The (Libyan) ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation urgently requested from the Qatari foreign ministry a clarification about what was written on the personal twitter account of the Qatari ambassador in Libya regarding Libya's affairs," LANA said.

Qatar had told Libya that the ambassador's account had been hacked by unknown persons and that the comments posted there had nothing to do with him, the agency added.

A Libyan foreign ministry official confirmed the comments made on LANA to Reuters. There was no immediate comment from Qatar.

Libya is preparing for parliamentary elections on June 25 at a time when the country is grappling with turmoil and divisions between Islamists and more moderate forces as well as competing tribes and regions, three years after the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi.

(Reporting by Feras Bosalum and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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