Thursday, 15 December 2011

'Reconciliation conference' in Tripoli

On 10th December, the National Transitional Council (NTC) opened a 'Reconciliation conference' in Tripoli which was attended by representatives from various regional groups and by overseas supporters such as Qatar and Tunisia. It was intended to address some of the regional and tribal issues which plague Libya.

Although the both NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil, and Prime Minister Abduraheem el-Keib, focused on reconciliation between the pro and anti-Qadhafi fighters, there are clearly strong regional ties to be addressed which will impact on the strength of any new national constitution.

The NTC also supported a conference in Doha which was discussing the emergence of a free and independent Libyan media. It was co-chaired by the NTC's vice-chairman, Abdul Hafez Ghoga, and was attended by experts from various associated fields. These included Oxford University's specialist on government media policies, Professor Robert G Picard, and the president of the International Centre for Journalists, Joyce Barnathan.

The conference's closing statement called for a free, open, and independent media and communications system with an independent regulator and a new system of media and journalism training. For the NTC this would be a clear sign to other countries that Libya can look different in a post-Qadhafi landscape.

A more immediate problem is disturbance and unrest that is still being caused by the militia groups that dominate Libya and particularly Tripoli. The head of the latter's local council, Abdel Rafik Bu Hajjar, announced on 6th December that Tripoli's residents and the rebels in the capital were being called on to disarm by 31st December. It was also announced that non-local groups of revolutionary fighters would be urged to leave Tripoli before 20th December. Tripoli's own military brigade is to be dissolved by 31st December. The feasibility of any of these deadlines is, however, in serious doubt.

Local protestors have taken to the streets in Tripoli to support the disarmament policy. In one demonstration, on 7th December, around 2,000 people gathered in Tripoli's Martyr's Square.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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