SouthFront is a public organisation that provides an independent platform for various points of view on the most relevant issues of international relations, on-going armed conflicts and crises. We offer you an exclusive interview with the President of the Zawi Tribe Council and Vice President of the Supreme Council of Libyan Tribes, the Sheikh Al-Senussi Al-Haleq Al-Zawi, where he presents his National Reconciliation Plan, describes the role of regional actors and the United Nations in the peacemaking process, current oil extraction issues and the prospects for his country.
The on-going Libyan reconciliation process is of particular interest, as on March 10th, Libyan parliament approved new Government of National Unity, which is aimed at leading the country to December elections after a decade of conflict. A new national government headed by Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh was granted with a vote of confidence from the both warring parties and is going to take the oath of office on March 15th.
Submitted by Piero Messina exclusively for SouthFront.
What future can we imagine for Libya ten years after the revolution? After a long period of civil war, thanks to the intervention of the United Nations, there is now a new government, which should unite the three great regions of the country: Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan. Let’s try to understand what’s going on with the Sheikh Al-Senussi Al-Haleq Al-Zawi, President of the Zawi Tribe Council and Vice President of the Supreme Council of Libyan Tribes.
You have presented a National Reconciliation Plan. What is it? (The official document can be read in English and Arabic here LINK)
The National Reconciliation Plan is the place to start. From there we can tackle everything. The Plan points the way to stability and security and to restart the economy. It is an effort that will be reflected in favor of all Mediterranean countries. It should also be reiterated that we reject those who want to continue speaking in the language of force and violence and say no to all hypotheses of occupation of the Libyan territory and, even worse, of neo-colonization. The key concepts of that plan are forgiveness and peace. Nobody thinks of a revenge. There must be no winner, we must find a balance point for the good of all. It is important that the entire international community understands the profound meaning of this Plan and supports it. Of course, it is not difficult to imagine being able to have Italy and Egypt as privileged partners on this path.
We are not against Turkey. But we are against the ideology that the leadership of that nation expresses today. An ideology that sounds so similar to terrorism.
What is Libya today? What are its fundamental structures?
Libya is a tribal country. From this point of view, my task is to bring the opinions of the different tribes together and find a point of convergence. The Supreme Council of Libyan Tribes must ensure that the institutions can work with the favor of the people. In this perspective, the Council can play a reciprocal role in bringing people closer to the institutions. Of course, we can work to ensure the security of the country and of every single citizen of it.
Let’s talk about oil.
Hydrocarbons are the main resource for our country. We live on that alone. I believe that oil and gas are the resources to guarantee the well-being of all Libyans. Regardless of the regions where those resources are found.
Why did you stop oil production last year?
At that moment all the revenues from the extraction ended up in the government of Tripoli. Of course, that government was recognized by the United Nations. But not all the Libyan people accepted it as a legitimate government. Fayez Al Serraj has never obtained the recognition of the Libyan parliament. We can say that it was an unelected government. With the oil revenues, the Tripoli government had signed contracts with Qatar and Turkey, also to hire mercenary militias. With the closure of the oil wells, the tribal leaders of Libya wanted to break this circle that brought death and destruction to the country. The Tribal Council met and made this decision. We of the Zawi tribe were the first to stop production. 70 percent of Libyan oil resources come from the region where we live. We did not stop mining to destroy the Libyan economy, we did it to stop the purchase of weapons and the hiring of mercenaries, to stop the wave of terror (and terrorism) that sowed death and destruction. Libya was destroyed with the oil revenues. The balance of that war period counts over 1,400 civilian buildings destroyed in Tripoli and 40 percent of the city of Benghazi razed to the ground.
Then you decided to restart production. Why?
Oil production resumed, when the United Nations guaranteed us to investigate what happened, they also check the contracts that have been signed. We also got a guarantee that the oil revenues would go to the Libyan Arab Bank, under the control of the United Nations. Thus, we obtained the certainty that the wealth of the Libyan people was not destined to recruit mercenaries. The agreement with the United Nations provides that oil revenues do not end up on the contents of the Libyan Central Bank. The Bank’s governor, Al Sadiq Al Kadir, is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. I am convinced that it will also be necessary to clarify possible episodes of corruption that have occurred within the Libyan Central Bank. For this reason, I believe a precise judicial investigation is necessary. The same principle will be used to obtain transparency on the management of Noc, National Oil Corporation. The president of Noc Sanalla entered into concession contracts without first consulting the government. Thus, with those contracts, he conditioned Libya’s oil production.
Now in Libya there is a new government and elections are being considered.
Thanks to the work of the Geneva Forum, Libya has a new government and a new president. The new government has obtained the approval of the Libyan Parliament. This evolution makes us optimistic, because we are finally talking about a single government for the country. We offer our utmost support to this government to ensure that it achieves the political objectives it has indicated. But we must be honest: the path is still marked by many difficulties and many complexities to be solved. For example: perhaps the period of time that separates us from the next political and presidential elections (scheduled for the end of December 2021, ed.) Is too short. The first emergency on which to intervene is to expel the mercenary troops and dissolve the irregular militias. The weapons must be delivered to the barracks of the Libyan state. Only with that condition can we arrive at truly free and democratic elections.