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London meeting .. Will it save Libya’s economy?

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LIBYAPROSPECT – Heba Mahmoud

London meeting about Libya concluded, which was called for by Britain and the United States, besides the participation of many Libyan officials.

Observers described the two days meeting as the last attempt to save the Presidential Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA) from failing, in the wake of its continued failure to control the situation inside Tripoli.

According to a report by Libya Al-Mostakbal website (translated here by LIBYAPROSPECT), no concrete outcomes resulted from the meeting about mechanisms to resolve the suffocating economic crisis, but some considered it as a step towards resolutions that could support the GNA to move forward and resolve the current crises. The report cited a third opinion regarded the meeting an attempt to save the political accord.

Head of the PC, Fayez Al-Sarraj confirmed that the meeting aimed directly at discussing suggestions that could solve the economic crisis, considering methods to resolve the cash crisis, exchange rates, declining oil production and challenges facing the PC in the wake of current disintegration.

From his side; the British ambassador to Libya, Peter Millett, said that London meeting was to confirm the international support for the Political Agreement (PA), and bypassing the current impasse, finding solutions to the economic problems facing the country, by providing essential services for citizens, by increasing oil revenues, and by using such revenues to improve living conditions.

The meeting, which was attended by the Central Bank of Libya 9CBL) governor, Al-Seddiq Al-Kabeer, faced prior criticism by some accusing the participated parties of barging Libya to the international community through indebtedness and exploitation of frozen funds.

The PC member, Ali Al-Qatrany, issued a statement describing London meeting as “tutelage meeting” denouncing “the override of the legislature body, represented in the House of Representatives (HoR), authorized to take such decisions.”

From his side, the PC member, Fathy El-Majbary, said that nothing official was issued out of London meeting until now, adding, in a televised interview, that “participants are not mandated to ratify any economic projects outside the country, the meeting is more of a consultative session.”

Observers said that the mystery surrounded the meeting and its outcomes, adding that it was a single meeting which was not well prepared, some boycotted it. Others saw the meeting succeeded in getting substantial financial institutions together, especially the PC and the CBL who exchanged accusation recently, but the meeting needs subjective determination and planning from the Presidential Council to promote the fragile economy, which is threatened by the ongoing conflict in the east and the west.

From his side, the political analyst, Khaled Al-Ghoul, said that “the international moves, assuming their good intention, in resolving the Libyan economic crises fall within their international obligations and responsibilities in front of their people, as toppling the former regime requires finding a better alternative. Otherwise, it is an internal matter in the hands of Libyans”. He added that “the problem remains even if oil production resumes, oil revenues will worth 7 Billion, while state salaries only are 21 Billion, so annual defection is 14 Billion”.

The political activist, Faraj Farkash, said that “the London meeting was first to support the PC, which is semi-helpless due to practices by some inside the HoR and the outgoing General National Congress (GNC) and the accumulated problems. Also, it is pressure on the political parties opposing the GNA and the PC”. He added that “the most significant accomplishment of the meeting is the understanding between Al-Kabeer and Al-Sarraj, and the liquefaction of fund that the PC needs to pay salaries and other expenditures. All of that will positively reflect on the living conditions, especially providing cash and defining Dollar exchange rates. The economic crisis won’t be solved without unity of all state institutions and shunning the political disputes”.

The writer. Abdullah Al-Kabir said that “there is no adequate information about the recommendations and decisions of the meeting, especially in the economic matter. The goal was to consider cooperation mechanisms between the PC and the CBL to resolve the cash crisis, rising prices, and availability of hard currency”. He added that “I think such cooperation is possible, but generally I don’t think there will be a different result, some Libyan officials started to feel dangers surrounding Libya future, which might push all parties towards reconciliation, bypassing the current armed conflict to pacification, I don’t really believe in outside solutions without inner conciliation”.