By Sami Zaptia.
London, 28 June 2021:
According to LANA, the official Libyan state news agency, and state Alwataniya TV, Ageela Saleh, the head of House of Representatives informed members at the opening of today’s session that the government apologized for being unable to attend today’s session due to Prime Minister Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba and several his ministers being on official trips abroad.
The report said the government said it would be present at next week’s session to review its performance in its first 100 days in office.
This report conflicts the official statement from HoR Spokesperson Abdalla Belheeg who said that the 2021 budget would be discussed at today’s session. This may well mean that the budget may be discussed – but no final decision will be taken on it.
5+5 JMC requests Defence budget be halted until Defence Minister and his Deputy appointed
On another note, the report said that Saleh also briefed members on the content of a letter received by him from the 5 + 5 Joint Military Commission, requesting that the HoR hold off approving the budget for the Ministry of Defence until a Minister and his Deputy are appointed by the Prime Minister.
It must be noted that the veracity of this letter/claim is questionable. While the Hafter ‘5’ of the 5+5 Commission may be pushing for this – it is very unlikely that the remaining anti-Hafter ‘5’ would be pushing for these appointments. There is a suspicion that such a letter may have been invited by pro-Hafter HoR members or Saleh himself – and is being used to stall the 2021 budget for political gains.
Currently, the Prime Minister is also holding that controversial role. The role has been long coveted by Khalifa Hafter / one of his supporters – a move that is strongly opposed by the anti-Hafter stream – including most western-based militias that fought against him in the war on Tripoli.