By Hadi Fornaji.
Tunis, 25 March 2o17:
A visiting Libyan delegation in Amman been told that Libya still owes Jordanian hospitals $300 million in unpaid debts for past treatment of Libyan patients in the country.
According to Jordan’s Private Hospitals Association, moreover, the delegation has agreed to pay the money. In a statement it said that a deal was reached after the committee tasked with settling the issue of Libyan medical debts to Jordan together with staff from the Libya embassy in Amman met with representatives from the country’s hospitals and agreed to settle the bill.
An embassy official confirmed to the Libya Herald today that a delegation had come from Libya and met with the Jordanians to discuss the debt. However, he denied that any figure had been decided. The team had now returned to Libya, he said, and would evaluate the claims presented to them and would decide what would be paid, and when.
The bills stem from the period following the revolution when some 80,000 Libyans were treated in Jordan – not just war wounded but also civilians who were able to advantage of the lack of controls over whom the Libyan authorities paid for. It is known that in some cases entire families travelled to Jordan, staying in top hotels at Libya’s expense while a member of the family underwent treatment, sometimes for nothing to do with war injuries.
At one point at the time it was estimated that Libya had built up unpaid bills of $200 million. Significantly though, by September 2013, when the Jordanian hospitals had tightened up on admitting Libyan patients unless monies were paid in advance and the Libyan authorities has stopped underwriting medical treatment in Jordan, it was estimated that Libya still owed private health care provider there $80 million.
It is not clear how this has now risen to $300 million.
Nonetheless, two years ago, the Thinni government agreed to pay Jordanian as well as Tunisian healthcare debts. This, though, did not happen.
The present move to pay off the debt is reported to have come for Khalifa Hafter. According to Jordanian weekly Assabaeel, the head of the Libya National Army decided that outstanding debts to Jordan had to be paid.
Jordan has in the past couple of years built strong ties to Hafter.