By Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Tripoli, 16 October:
Local councils in eastern Libya, including those in Benghazi, Ajdabiya, Derna, Marj, Jalu, Abyar and Tobruk, . . .[restrict]have called for the National Oil Corporation (NOC) to be moved entirely to Benghazi. Meeting there on Sunday to discuss common problems council represntatives said that all organisations whose charter of foundation had them headquartered in the east of the country should return to their original bases.
The NOC was originally headquartered in Benghazi when it was founded in 1968. It was moved to Tripoli by Qaddafi in 1971. Last week, a decision to move part of the NOC to Benghazi was quickly put on hold after protests in Tripoli. This produced counter protests in Benghazi.
As to other state institutions and government-owned companies currently based in Tripoli, the Benghazi meeting said they should be redistributed across the country.
The meeting also asked on National General Congress to pass temporary legislation to standardise the role, responsibilities and powers of all local councils, pending a decision on a new constitution. It called on Congress to vote emergency funding for them so that they could carry out their work. Those attending said that salaries of staff needed to be paid ahead of Eid Al-Adha and funds made available to make payments to needy families in winter.
Any political party that had links to a military battalion should be disbanded, the meeting demanded, and payments to any battalion not under full state control immediately stopped. It also insisted that salaries be stopped to any police military personnel who were not doing their job.
Illegal immigration was seen as a urgent problem and the participants called for an emergecy meeting with their local Congress representatives on the subject.
Despite the NOC move, the gathering was keen to show it did not have federalist agenda. It called for a special meeting in Benghazi of all Libyan local councils in November to discuss common problems and formulate responses.