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Home » Libya » Joint Communique on Libya

17/09/2013
By Karen Dabrowska

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In a frank opening address to FDI Libya held in London Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zidan admitted that the state (Libya) is under threat from terrorism and “we can’t start working unless all the weapons are collected.” He assured conference delegates that slow but sure steps are being taken to address the challenges facing the country.

Referring to terrorists who are also active in Algeria, Mali and the region, Zidan said: “The security situation is a challenge forced on us by forces of terrorism that do not want the situation in Libya to get better.”

Libya is losing some $130 million a day due to protests that have crippled the North African’s oil sector, but Zidan insisted that he still wanted to solve the crisis through dialogue rather than force.

“We are going to work on solving this problem. When blood is shed, the loss will be greater”.

The crisis has caused oil output to slump to around 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) from pre-war output of 1.6 million bpd.

Zidan confirmed output was resuming at the El Sharara and El Feel oilfields in southwestern Libya and that the Marsa al-Brega port had started to export again.
He said that his government was preparing an investment policy with a clear vision to safeguard the rights of all involved.

“Since 1969 till now investment was managed in a corrupt way. Now we want an economy build on efficiency and competitiveness which is connected to the international economic arena. This will be supported by the judicial system.”

Zidan assured conference delegates that the Libyan state would not engage in anything other than fruitful co-operation.

When asked about the problem of corruption he said that many initiatives have been undertaken but they must be implemented and this would take time. Out of country training has been undertaken for security personnel in the UK France and Germany so Libya can regain its army. He expected the security situation to improve by the end of the year.

Alistair Burt MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, welcomed Mr Zidan to London.

“Having visited Libya many times and having had the opportunity for a warm and constructive conversation with you when I was in Tripoli, I am always struck by how committed you and your government have been towards overcoming the challenges in order to foster the growth and enterprise needed for Libya and the Libyan people.

“The Prime Minister spoke about Libya’s business outlook and investment opportunities but true to his character he did not gloss over the difficulties that might be faced or the time it may take to deal with them.

Since the fall of the Gaddafi regime two years ago the situation in Libya has changed significantly despite all those difficulties we read about. Libya has successfully held national elections for the first time in over 40 years.

The Prime Minister’s democratically elected government and the transitional government before has made progress in rebuilding government infrastructure.
And it should never be underestimated just how little government was there when the new Libya emerged. They were building from virtually nothing.

“Libya still faces significant challenges and is now at a critical stage in its transition. The security situation is still challenging and it undermines economic development and I am proud to say that the United Kingdom is playing its part in helping to strengthen that security situation.

“This is why this conference is so important, not only to remind people of the challenges being faced but the opportunities that there are and the determination of the government to overcome the challenges and to find the economic development and foreign investment vital to Libya’s future.

“We believe British business has the expertise to help Libya build that future in particular the following attributes of our business stand out: innovation and high quality that lasts. That is the golden tread in everything the United Kingdom does whether it is goods, services, or infrastructure.”

The moderator of the opening session Sir Richard Dalton, British ambassador to Libya from 1999-2002 commented on the oil and gas crisis. He said that it would appear that the negotiation approach is the only one and some small progress has been made here and there.

“But the question that concerns me is whether these disputes, port by port and facility by facility by facility are purely local with groups of armed people seeking to strong arm the government for local and sectional benefit or whether there is a unified political theme running through these protests which has some reflection in the politics of the national congress.

He emphasised that unless those who break the law can be brought to justice it is difficult for foreign investors to have confidence that progress is in the right direction.

FDI Libya is an initiative organised by the Pace Group and Dar al Arab, who have worked for over a year to build a platform for international businesses and investors to meet with Libyan government officials. They have organised and hosted highly successful launches in Tripoli, Washington and Dubai, which attracted high levels of support.

Strategic roundtables have also been held at the House of Lords, UKTI headquarters, and The Tripoli Chamber of Commerce where pertinent issues relating to Libya were discussed.

The Libyan government has ambitious plans and is expected to invest $140 billion in projects over the next decade, but foreign investment is needed more than ever now to provide the expertise for development.

The two-day event will include separate sessions on healthcare, education, infrastructure and energy. Day One will focus on economic diversification and opportunities for investment, as well as Libya’s energy sector and major infrastructure investment. Day Two will include sessions on the changing face of construction, education and healthcare reform and transformation.

FDI Libya 2013 was originally due to take place in May, but was postponed until September at the request of Libya’s Ministry of Economy. Last month UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) hosted a roundtable event in the lead-up to the September conference.

One speaker, member of the General National Congress (GNC) Mohammed Ali Abdallah, said that partners who were prepared to travel the journey with Libya would be the ones who would reap the most rewards.

The importance the Libyan government attaches to the conference is evident the number of ministers attending: Dr Suhail Bushima the Deputy Minister of the Economy, Elhabib Alamin the Minister of Culture, Dr Almehdi Agnaia the Minister of Planning, Abubakir Algawi the Deputy Minister of Planning, Dr Alkilani Al-Jazi the Minister of Finance and Ali Hussien Al-Sharif the Minister of Housing.

Source: The Tripoli Post

Categories: Libya, News, Press

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