Saturday, May 11, 2013

Libya updates - May 10 - 11 , 2013....

BP pulls out international staff

By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 12 May 2013:
Acting on advice given by the British government, BP are the latest organisation to withdraw foreign staff from the country.
“Following FCO advice given to us by the British Embassy in Tripoli, and purely as a precautionary measure, we have brought non-essential staff out of Libya for the time being, in a phased reduction of numbers,” BP Press Officer Robert Wine told the Libya Herald. He said the move affects fewer than a dozen people.
Not all international staff have left, jut non-essential employees who are able to work from other locations. The company’s Libyan staff also remain and the local office will continue to operate, Wine added. BP still employs around 100 local staff from before the revolution.
“We will continue to monitor the security situation and move people back into Libya when it is considered safe to do so,” Wine said.
Citing the “security implications of the ongoing political uncertainty,” theBritish and American embassies have both reduced their staff numbers in the country.

Ministries back to work after sieges end

By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 12 May 2013:
Staff at the Foreign and Justice Ministries went back to work today after almost a fortnight of being kept out of the buildings by armed militiamen. The latter had originally mounted the blockades in support of the Political Isolation Law.
The buildings were handed over this morning to a group comprising a number of Congress members and leaders of groups that had supported the militiamen. According to the spokesman of Supreme Security Committee, Murad Hamza, the group that “received” the Foreign Ministry included its Undersecretary, Abdul-Razaq Graid, two Congressmen and a members of the Political Isolation Law coordination group.
Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdulaziz and Justice Minister Salah Marghani resumed work following an agreement between Congress officials and the leaders of the gunmen had been reached, the spokesmen for the respective ministries told the Libya Herald.
The reason for the formal handover, according to the militiamen, was that they wanted to show that nothing had been damaged or stolen during the period they hold the offices. Officials confirmed that was the case.
“Nothing has been touched,” a member of staff at the foreign ministry this afternoon, noting that files and computers of had not been tampered with.
“We’ve started working normally,” he said.
A week ago, after the Political Isolation Law was passed, the gunmen had refused to end up their sieges insisting they would remain until the government of Ali Zeidan was removed and that they saw that those had been working there who they said had been Qaddafi-era officials were removed.
The continued blocade had resulted in Marghani saying that he would move the Justice Ministry elsewhere, even out of Tripoli.
Following large demonstrations in Friday against the sieges, the militiamen withdrew and on Saturday, the judicial police returned to guard the Ministry of Justice while army units and the police moved in to guard the Foreign Ministry.

Another bomb in Benghazi

Firefighters struggled to put out the inferno that destroyed 20 cars
Benghazi, 11 May 2013:
Twenty cars were destroyed last night when a bomb was thrown into a car sales ground in Benghazi’s Al-Nahar Street.
The reasons for the attack, costing an estimated  LD 400,000, are unknown. The owner, Faraj Marghany, says he cannot understand why he was targeted and that he as no quarrels with anyone.
However, the sales area is next to a military police camp, which may have been the intended target.

Benghazi protestors support government, condemn Qatar

By Maha Ellawati.

Protestors outside Benghazi’s Tibesti Hotel attack Qatar
Benghazi, 10 May 2013:
The Qatari flag and a doll intended to represent Qatar’s ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, were burned by demonstators in Benghazi today who accused the Emir of interfering in Libya’s internal affairs.
An estimated 500 protestors gathered outside the city’s Tibesti hotel late this afternoon to vent their anger against the Gulf state, their opposition to militiamen who had been besieging the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice in Tripoli, and their support for the government of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and the General National Congress.
As with demonstrators outside the Foreign Ministry in Tripoli, they also called for the dismissal of Chief of Staff Yousef Mangoush.  “We shall put him in jail”, some chanted. They accused him of doing nothing for Libya’s security and of allowing the militiamen to act.
Several of the protestors waved the black flag of Cyrenaica, which until now has been the symbol of federalists.
Much of the opposition was directed however at Qatar which protesters claimed was supporting Libyan Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Some protestors demanded that Qataris be prevented from buying any land in Libya.
Yesterday, Qatar vigorously denied that it has been interfering in Libya. A statement from the its embassy in Tripoli yesterday said that it “rejected accusations of its intervention in Libya’s internal affairs and support for certain Libyan groups or political blocs”. The accusation was “is false and unfounded”.   Qatar’s role, it said, had been limited one of support and respect for the 17 February Revolution.
The statement did not cut ice with protestors in Tobruk today, where a Qatari flag was also burned.

British and American embassy reduce staff in security concerns

Tripoli, 10 May 2013:
The British and American embassies have announced that they are withdrawing a number of staff because security issues relating the present political crisis.
The British Embassy says that those concerned are mainly staff who work in support of Libyan ministries affected by the recent developments. The embassy, however, remains open for business as usual, including for consular and visa services.
In its latest travel warning for Libya, it also says that because of today’s protests, there is potential for violence and clashes between rival armed groups. It advises people to avoid demonstrations or large gatherings of people.
It also states that there is at present a high threat from terrorism including kidnapping.
The US Embassy latest travel warning says that the security situation in Libya remains unpredictable and similarly advises its citizens to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.

LBBC postpones Libya mission

By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 11 May 2013:
The Libyan British Business Council (LBBC) has postponed its business mission to Tripoli which was supposed to take place from 12-16 May.
The LBBC told Libya Herald that “the advice we received from all our Libyan official contacts was that now was not a good time for a business delegation to visit.  We have therefore decided to postpone our mission until the political situation allows Libyan Ministers and officials time to attend to business visitors”.
The LBBC was keen to stress though, that it is the understandable desire by Ministers and officials to concentrate “on current political developments and no concern about security that has prompted our decision.”
The announcement today by LBBC to postpone follows a similar decision announced yesterday by the organisers of the FDI conference, which was planned to take place in London on 29-30 May, to postponed because of the current political crisis in Libya.
The organisers of the FDI event, said that they were asked by the Ministry of Economy to delay it to give them “time to handle their internal affairs”.
They released a statement from the Ministry saying:
“We commend your international efforts in preparing for a conducive and encouraging investment climate, to raise the level of both local and foreign investment.
“Due to the importance of this subject matter and that it falls under the remit of the Ministry of Economy, we have intended to attend this investment conference. However, due to the current temporary conditions, we ask that the conference is postponed for a later date so that we can complete all the required steps to participate at the Ministerial level. 
Apologising for the move, the organisers, Pace Group and Dar Al-Arab, say that the event will probably take place in September, but this is to be confirmed.

New clashes in Sebha, 1 man killed

By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 11 May 2013:
There has been heavy fighting in Sebha during the night between those who attacked the tomb of Hamid Hudairi on Thursday and the family and followers of the marabout (holy man). One man is reported to have been killed.
A Sebha reporter who lives in the Jadid area of the town where the tomb is situated phoned the Libya Herald shortly after midnight to tell about the fighting. The sound of explosions could be heard in the background.
The reporter said that he could not stay on the phone because he had to take his family to safety.