With a population of 6 million and historically the most prosperous of the seven majority-Muslim nations on President Trump’s contentious executive order curbing travel and refugee flows, oil-rich Libya stands out as the smallest and the wealthiest country in the group.
But after three years of civil war that left an opening for penetration by Islamic State terrorists and with rival governments in its eastern and western sectors — neither with full control of state agencies or the country’s borders — some Libyan leaders say they can readily understand what drove the new U.S. president to hit the pause button.
“It’s hard to demand that the USA or any other country not take precautionary measures,” said Abd Elhadi Ma’touk, a spokesman for the government in the eastern sector based in the city of Tobruk, 90 miles from the Egyptian border.
“Especially with the current chaos and division in Libya, there is an argument to restrict the entrance of certain people to America,” Mr. Ma’touk added.
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