By Mick Krever, CNN
The abduction and release of Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan by armed gunmen is the result of weak and absent government institutions, a member of that very government, Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdelaziz told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.
“In the absence of a functional, strong, and humane criminal justice in Libya, these things could happen anytime,’ Abdelaziz said the capital, Tripoli. “These types of groups exploit these types of gaps that exist in the country at the moment, given the fact that we are in the process of building our criminal justice system.”
Zeidan was taken from the luxury Tripoli hotel where he is living in the early morning hours, only to be released unharmed several hours later.
It is unclear who took Zeidan, and the Justice Ministry said there was no warrant for his arrest. Armed militias have roamed the country largely unchecked since the 2011 ousting of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
In an interview with Amanpour during the U.N. General Assembly, Zeidan told Amanpour “is not a failing state … the state of Libya doesn't exist yet.”
It is a point that Abdelaziz echoed.
“We are starting from scratch, and I think it will take time,” he told Amanpour. “As long as we have a sustained support on the part of the international community, I think Libya will make it,” adding that they are getting “excellent” support.
Abdelaziz denied that the abduction of Zeidan had anything to do with the American operation this past weekend in which commandos snatched a long-sought al-Qeada operative, Abu Anas al Libi, off the street in Tripoli.
“I don’t really see the relevance of this abduction to that what happened,” he said, “because the debate in relation to the disagreements between some of the military groups and the government officials – it was there for some time.”