Tripoli:  Libya's government on Wednesday gave its firm support to a two-week deadline for militias to quit Tripoli, backing up a threat from the capital's council to lock down the city if they fail to do so.
   
"A public demonstration will be held tomorrow at 4:30 pm in Martyrs' Square in support of... initiatives to clear Tripoli of weapons and the unnecessary presence of militia," a statement from the office of the interim premier said.
   
"It is anticipated that the demonstration will escalate each day until December 20. On that day, if the militias have not left the city, the public of Tripoli and the Libyan government will close the whole city to traffic."
   
The statement by Abdel Rahim al-Kib's office came after he met city council officials and other members of the National Transitional Council (NTC) on the security concerns posed by the presence of armed militias in the capital.
   
Abdul Razzak Abuhajar, president of the city council, urged militias from outside Tripoli to leave the city.
   
"I would urge all of those militias from outside Tripoli to return home," the statement from Kib's office quoted Abuhajar as saying.
   
"We are grateful for their help but now it is time for them to return to their families and friends to help rebuild their own cities and lives."
   
Kib welcomed the city council's initiatives to help clear Tripoli of weapons and militias and "confirmed that the interior and defence ministries will also provide full support to the Tripoli local council," the statement added.
   
It said Kib was aware of plans for public demonstrations in support of government actions, and at his meeting with council members he emphasised the importance of the public expressing their support peacefully.
   
At a separate news conference, Abuhajar told reporters that during his meeting with the prime minister the government had also vowed to disarm Tripoli completely by the end of the year.
   
"The government has promised us to disarm Tripoli by December 31," he said after Tripoli was inundated by former rebel fighters who ousted Muammar Gaddafi.
   
"They have assured the Tripoli council that the entire city will be disarmed," he said.

(Agencies)