By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 25 February 2014:
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan repeated his belief that Libya would need international mediation or arbitration in . . .[restrict]its effort to collect arms from the public and militias.
Speaking at today’s press conference, Zeidan said that Libyans do not trust each other enough in order to hand-over arms to one another, and that the international community would need to participate in this process.
He added that the pretext of guarding the revolution is often used as an excuse not to hand-over arms and that if things continued at this rate Libya will not reach a solution on this matter.
This is not the first time that the Prime Minister has publicly raised the issue of arms collection. In November last year Zeidan had floated the idea of buying up illegally-held arms.
At that press conference, Zeidan had suggested that Libya needed to take advantage of international experience to set up a programme to buy up all illegally-held arms in the country.
Zeidan had said that if the GNC approved his plan, the government would seek to set up a procedure whereby “arbitrators” would receive surrendered weapons from individuals and organisations, who might have been reluctant to hand over their arms to other Libyans.
He did not spell out how this would work, but he may have been thinking of the system that worked in Northern Ireland, after the Good Friday peace accord, whereby the Irish Republican Army put their weapons “beyond use” under the gaze of independent observers led by a US politician Senator George Mitchell.
Zeidan had emphasized last November, however, that he was merely floating this as an idea for debate. He had not been proposing that the government should decide on such a move without consultation. [/restrict]