Monday, January 07, 2013

More Splits in Libya's Rebel Regime

1/7/2013 3:52:16 PM

Libya''s liberal coalition withdraws from assembly: members

Libya''s leading liberal coalition has withdrawn from the national assembly in protest over delays in forming a committee to draft a post-Gaddafi constitution, members told AFP on Monday.

"The National Forces Alliance completely withdrew yesterday from the General National Congress," said one of the members Najah Saluh.

A statement from the coalition, which holds 39 of 80 seats reserved for parties in the assembly, said that the main reasons for the decision to pull out include the delay in establishing a committee to draft a new constitution.

Other reasons for the withdrawal are what members describe as chaotic proceedings and the lack of adequate security for the assembly, where sessions have been often disrupted by demonstrators who barged into the premises while parliament was in session to influence decisions.

"It is a temporary withdrawal until our demands are met," said Ibrahim Al-Gheriani who heads the bloc within the assembly.

He said the coalition wants better security for assembly members and a "constitutional committee elected directly by the people."

Saluh added that the decision reflected "deep disappointment in the performance of the assembly."

Nearly 15 months after Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi was slain by rebels, who toppled his regime, the country is still at odds over a divided over who should draw up a new constitution.

Some want the 200-member General National Congress elected in July to appoint a panel to carry out the task. Others want fresh elections to a constitutional convention.

The National Forces Alliance the largest coalition bloc in parliament wants the constitutional committee to be elected by the Libyan people themselves.

Oil workers' strike causes $1mn loss per day: Libyan oil minister

Sun Jan 6, 2013 11:16AM GMT

Libya's Oil and Gas Minister Abdul Bari Laroussi says that a strike at an oil terminal east of Tripoli has caused the country's oil industry to lose more than USD one million per day.

On Saturday, the minister said that the workers’ strike at the Zueitina oil terminal is causing a loss of USD 1.3 million each day.

The workers have been on strike since December 23, 2012, forcing the oil terminal to halt its operations.

Laroussi said that the shutdown at the terminal has also led to electricity cuts in some parts of western Libya. Several workers of the terminal, including two foreigners, also resigned following the strike.

The Minister stressed that the terminal would resume operations after the Libyan government responded to the demands of the workers. Tripoli has not yet made any effort to handle the issue.

Laroussi said the workers asked for the employment of 1,500 people who are living in the terminal’s neighboring areas.

Oil installations have become a focal point of protests challenging Libya's new government, which is dependent on oil for most of its revenue.

At least three oil fields in the Libyan desert supply the Zueitina oil terminal which is located 850 kilometers east of Tripoli.

The Zueitina oil port exports roughly 60,000 barrels per day as Libya's oil production stands at 1.6 million barrels per day.

Defence Ministry orders troops to rejoin units

Rebel-led Libya has made extensive efforts to build its armed forces, but absenteeism still a problem in some units

Tripoli, 6 January:

The US-backed rebel Ministry of Defence today issued a statement ordering military personnel of all ranks to rejoin their units immediately, Libyan news agency LANA reported.

In the statement, the ministry called on all soldiers, sailors and airmen to join their units across the country, apparently in response to the persistent problem of absenteeism in the security services.

The call from the ministry came just one day after Prime Minister Ali Zeidan also tackled the issue in a speech at a weekly press conference yesterday, saying: “I have given instructions that all personnel must return to work otherwise we will take all necessary steps.”

“We don’t want to do this, but we will if we have to. Refusing to return to work is unacceptable,” he added.

It is understood that there are currently many members of the armed forces who have refused to return to their units and start work again since the US-backed counter-revolution in 2011 but who continue to receive government salaries.

The Ministry of Defence’s statement today also warned that any personnel who failed to return to work within one month would cease to receive their salaries and would be subject to strict legal investigations.

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