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Nominee to be Libyan foreign minister turns down the job

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 2 Jan 2013 21:01 GMT
Author: Reuters
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* Former ambassador had been nominated by prime minister

* Was cleared of being too close to Gaddafi regime

* But said he had personal reasons not to take up post

By Ali Shuaib

TRIPOLI, Jan 2 (Reuters) - The man proposed as Libya's foreign minister has rejected the post despite being cleared by an Integrity Commission which was asked to examine his ties to deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Ali Aujali, Libya's former ambassador to the United States was among eight of the 27 ministers nominated by Prime Minister Ali Zeidan who were referred to the commission, which studies the backgrounds of public officials, after protests outside congress over the make up of his cabinet.

Congress elected Zeidan prime minister in October after his predecessor lost a confidence vote over his choice of ministers - highlighting the fractious politics in a country previously run with an eccentric system of personal rule.

The eight ministers were invited to appeal their cases, and Aujali won his, according to a statement on the Facebook page of the Integrity Commission.

But in a letter of resignation to the head of parliament obtained by Reuters on Wednesday, Aujali simply said he did not want to take up the position of foreign minister even though he was now cleared to do so.

"It is an honour to be appointed to this position, but for objective and personal reasons, I have informed the prime minister that I must turn down this position at this time," the letter, dated December 30, read.

He did not elaborate and was not available for comment.

Aujali was Libya's ambassador to the United States during the war that toppled Gaddafi in August 2011. A telegram presented to the commission as part of his appeal showed he had defected on March 22, a month after the uprising began. (Reporting By Ali Shuaib; Writing By Hadeel Al-Shalchi; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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