By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 24 October 2017:
The head of the Presidency Council Faiez Serraj has continued his series of encounters with local municipal officials from across the country with meetings today in Tripoli with, first, the mayor and councillors of Ghadames and , and then with representatives from Nalut.
According to a PC statement, the meeting with the Ghadames team ended with Serraj ordering funds to be made available for a number of urgent requirements in the town and for officials from relevant ministries to follow up on needs. However, he also explained that funding was not freely available at present.
In the case of Nalut, Serraj asked the mayor an councillors to provide estimates of the costs of implementing a number of projects but also ordered funds to be made available to others, including the new University of Nalut, and much needed infrastructural work to the hospital.
The meetings should be seen against the background of claims by Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter that the Libyan National Army (LNA) controls 90 percent of the country and related moves by the Beida-based interim government to demonstrate that it exercises authority in the west of the country.
Just over a month ago, Abdullah Al-Thinni, the head of the Beida-based interim government, was in Ghadames, his home town, to inaugurate a number of projects. He then went to Zintan to make his presence felt – just six weeks after Serraj had been there.
Today’s meeting with mayor and councillors from Ghadames and then with their counterparts from Nalut was evidently designed to show that the PC has more support on the ground in the region as well as control over the levers of power and finance. In today’s announcement about the Ghadames talks, the PC specifically claimed that the town’s mayor and councillors not only thanked Serraj for meeting their demands but also expressed their “full support” for his government of national accord (GNA).
The PC likewise stressed that Serraj has now been invited to visit Nalut.
His weekend visit to Obari and to Sabratha two weeks ago are also being seen in the context of demonstrating that the GNA, not the Thinni administration, is viewed as the legitimate government in the west. They also serve to rebut the claims by Hafter abut the LNA’s 90-percent of the country.
Meanwhile yesterday as part of the municipal encounters, Serraj met officials from the Tripoli suburb of Suq Al-Juma to try and resolve its problems and requirements. These included the lack of water as well as the perceived need for three new health centres, another school, kindergartens, cultural centres, gardens and parks. Again, there were orders for some immediate funding to be made available although, according to the PC media office, Serraj again pointed out the current constraints in funding all municipalities.
There is, in any event, little likelihood at present of a member of the Thinni administration turning up in Suq Al-Juma.