Tripoli, 20 February 2013:
Libya’s stalled railway projects may soon be resumed, following the government’s announcement of a railways implementation group.
The General National Congress (GNC) has commissioned the Communications and Transportation Committee to choose a president and vice-president for the new railways implementation project.
GNC spokesman Omar Hemidan announced last night, Tuesday, that the committee would be inviting applications for the two positions from Thursday, according to Libyan news agency LANA.
This is the firmest indication yet that pre-revolution projects to build a 3,170 km national rail network will still go ahead. The $12 billion scheme was split between Russian Railways (RZhD), tasked with building the line between Sirte and Benghazi, and the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC).
CRCC won the 2008 contract to build 352 km of coastal railway from Khoms to Sirte, with a later addition of 172 km from Tripoli to Ras Ejder on the Tunisian border. The Chinese firm were also contracted to build an 800-km line between Misrata and Wadi Shatti near Sebha, an area rich in iron ore deposits.
While CRCC remains silent on its projects in Libya, RZhD has said that its experts “have now developed a series of measures for the resumption of the project.” It added: “Russian Railways is taking all possible steps to begin negotiations with Libya in order to discuss the future prospects for the resumption of the project and to develop a joint plan of action in this direction.”
Russian officials, including the president of RZhD Alexander Sultanov, were in Tripoli earlier this month to discuss resuming work on the Sirte-Benghazi line. [/restrict]