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Middle East

Ousted Libyan PM heading for Germany: Malta

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 file photo, then Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan speaks to the media during a press conference in Rabat, Morocco. (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar, File)

ROME: Libya's fugitive ex-prime minister Ali Zeidan has flown to Germany in defiance of a travel ban after changing planes in Malta, Maltese government sources told AFP Wednesday.

Zeidan arrived in Malta on a Libyan state plane Tuesday evening but then switched to a private jet after a brief stopover before departing for Germany, they said.

That version of events differed slightly from the account given by Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in a television interview.

"The plane stopped in Malta for two hours to refuel before proceeding to another European country," Muscat said.

Zeidan arrived in Malta hours after losing a vote of confidence in the Libyan parliament.

Libya's top prosecutor late Tuesday slapped a travel ban on Zeidan because of his suspected involvement in the embezzlement of public funds.

Muscat said he met Zeidan briefly during the stopover but government sources later clarified that the two men had only talked by telephone.

Zeidan was ousted after a North Korean-flagged tanker laden with crude oil from a rebel-held terminal broke through a naval blockade and escaped to sea.

The episode underlined the weakness of Zeidan's government, which failed to quash former rebel militia that have carved out their own fiefdoms after the 2011 uprising that ended Moamer Kadhafi's four-decade rule.

The beleaguered leader was even briefly abducted by former rebel militia in the heart of the capital last October.

 

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