By Essam Mohamed
Interim Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril addressed the concerns of citizens on Thursday (September 29th), holding a press conference in Tripoli where he focused on the pressing needs of the Libyan people.
Jibril addressed four main areas of concern, ranging from the cost of living to the democratic transition. He said that retirees’ salaries would be raised to match people’s expenses and inflation. He added that customs duties would be frozen on food for six months in an effort to alleviate fiscal burdens on families. Wages will also be restructured, with state employees receiving a raise.
As for the upcoming Eid al-Adha, Jibril said that a contract would be signed to buy 750,000 sheep to make it easier for citizens to celebrate the holiday.
The interim prime minister also pledged to care for the wounded, saying authorities have allocated $450 million for treating people this year. Jibril said that agreements had been signed with France, Germany and Italy to treat Libyans at their hospitals. Tunisia, Egypt, Malta and Jordan have also received injured Libyans. In addition, Jibril said during his Thursday meeting with US Senator John McCain that an accord was reached on flights to the US military hospital in Germany for wounded Libyans.
The US senator used the occasion to praise the Libyan revolution. “We believe very strongly that the people of Libya today are inspiring the people in Tehran, in Damascus, and even in Beijing and Moscow,” McCain said. “They continue to inspire the world and let people know that even the worst dictators can be overthrown and be replaced by freedom and democracy.”
Addressing Libya’s democratic transition, Jibril said that the NTC’s executive body suggested an early start to the process. He said he hopes to see elected leaders, adding that “there are a lot of honest people who have supported the revolution and taken part in it”.
The interim prime minister dedicated his last point to integrity and transparency. He noted that the “revenues and expenses, whether of the executive body or NTC, would be published in the upcoming days”.
“The expenses that have been spent since the ministries started their work will be calculated,” he said. “All details will be announced.”
He also said that he would not be a part of the next Libyan government, that a higher council of tenders have been created, and that no ministry would be allowed to sign direct contracts. He called on every Libyan to report any cases of embezzlement or corruption but without any slander, noting that criticism must be of the performance of individuals rather than their personal behaviour.
Meanwhile, fighting continued in the cities of Bani Walid and Sirte, where families were fleeing the violence. The UN provided drinking water for the displaced outside Sirte but the NTC also called on the world body to provide petrol for ambulances ferrying wounded from the city.
Several revolutionaries were killed outside Sirte when the Kadhafi loyalists shelled a hotel where they were staying. Civilians were also hit by the pro-Kadhafi shelling, including a family that had one person killed and five others injured.
Meanwhile, Interpol issued a red notice on Thursday for the arrest al-Saadi Kadhafi who is now in Niger. Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmudi, head of Kadhafi’s toppled government, began a hunger strike out of fear of being extradited to Libya. A number of Libyans have filed complaints against the former prime minister, accusing him of rapes, falsifying truths and assisting Kadhafi in killing his people.