By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 16 July 2017:
Sabratha is by-passing the Presidency Council (PC) local government ministry and calling a meeting of mayors and councillors from 60 municipalities throughout Libya.
Sabratha mayor Hassen Dhawadi’s office has said that the aim of the conference, for which his town will pick up the tab, is to pressure the government and the international community into recognising the urgent funding needs of local government. Dhawadi has complained that the PC is refusing to release cash to allow municipalities to provide proper services.
The “Uniting visions and objectives for Libya” conference, due to open on Sunday, is aimed at achieving the level of cooperation at local council and business level which Dhawadi says the PC has failed to achieve. He would doubtless point to the peace deals struck between local elders and councils. These were praised by the former UNSMIL chief Martin Kobler as important examples of local initiatives.
But besides lack of money, municipalities also face security problems. Dhawadi himself complained that he could no longer control fuel smugglers in his town and appealed to the PC to intervene. He did not also complain about people-smugglers who are busy in coastal towns, including Sabratha.
It seems likely that the offer by Italian interior minister Marco Minneti of money to help councils curb the flow of migrants will also be on the agenda. Sabratha has already held a meeting to discuss the proposition, which was mainly aimed at municipalities in the south, where the migrants cross, mostly from Niger.
Sabratha has not said which municipalities have so far agreed to come to the conference.