By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 4 January:
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan stressed that “security is top of our priorities” at a weekly government press . . .[restrict]conference held yesterday evening in Tripoli.
He said that his government was working towards this by training the police and recalling those who had not yet resumed work even before the interior minister officially took up his post.
The security situation needs to be tackled head on and will require “much effort” from the government, Zeidan admitted, pointing to violent clashes in various parts of Libya in recent weeks, including Benghazi, Sebha and Ajailat.
However, he was also keen to stress that his government was making efforts to try to bring about stability across Libya, pointing to a number of ministerial visits to flash points, such as head of the General National Congress Mohamed Magarief’s visit to Sebha this week.
At the conference, Zeidan also referred to the show of strength put on by the state on the 24 December Independence Day and at the Police Academy celebrations. The aim of such events, he said, was to “reinforce the standing of the security and police forces who because of the great work that they do”.
Zeidan also repeated that he had held security talks with officials from Algeria, Niger, Sudan and Chad during his tour of Libya’s southern neighbours last month.
Talking about Libya’s defences and army he said that he “will concentrate on the reactivation of the army and the sifting of personnel and those who can stay and those who cannot we guarantee them an honourable life”. He then stressed that “the thuwar [revolutionaries] who participated in the success of the revolution will join the security forces and army”.
“We will modernize the new security organs too”, he added.
“I am in constant contact with Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior and the Chief of Staff on these issues. Sometimes more than once a day”, he told reporters.
Regarding the economy, Zeidan said that he will “reactivate, revive and revitalize it to create jobs for youth and provide the service needs of the citizens and private sector. We want to reactivate our health sector and our hospitals all over Libya, instead of Libyans travelling to neighbouring states”.
We also want to “reactivate the public utilities, public health and the cleanliness of public areas”, he added.
Zeidan went on to announce that the “GNC head and I will visit many states to reassure them that we are on the right path to progress”.
Last week Libya Herald asked First Deputy Prime Minister Awad Barasi for details about what percentage was spent from the 2012 LD 68.5 billion budget and if he was willing to give any indications about the size of the new 2013 budget. Barasi said that the details were not ready.
Libya Herald asked the same question this week to the Prime Minister and further asked if any surplus from the 2012 budget would be carried forward to the 2013 budget. Zeidan replied that the 2013 budget details were not ready yet and that they might be ready in one or two weeks.
Zeidan dismissed complaints of marginalisation from parts of the Amazigh community after he did not appoint an Amazigh minister in his cabinet. “I did not promise anyone a Ministry”, he said and suggested that in that case all of Libya is marginalised since most areas do not have a minister.
He stressed that he chose ministers solely on the basis of their abilities and their suitability for the post.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan admitted that “communication with the media is important” and that his recent lack of contact with Libya’s press was due to his heavy work load. Nevertheless, he hoped that his government would present its policies on a more regular basis.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the regular Thursday evening press conference at his office on Sikka Street.
Last week First Deputy Prime Minister Awad Barasi headed the multi-ministerial press conference, and this week Zeidan spoke with four other top ministers: Ashour Shwail, Minister of Interior, Mohamed Abufunas, Minister of Economy, Salah Maraghni, Minister of Justice and Chief of Staff Yousef Mangoush.