By Essam Mohamed
Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmudi announced Thursday (July 14th) that Moamer Gaddafi’s regime would cut ties with Italian oil companies in retaliation for Italy’s support of the UN-authorised intervention.
“The Italian government must forget entirely what was concluded with them previously,” al-Mahmudi said at a press conference with National Oil Company chairman Omran Abukraa.
“The Italian company, Eni, must look for investments in other countries,” the prime minister added. “As for Libya, it made this decision, and we are looking for a new partner to manage the Eni company’s projects.”
He claimed the move was due to Italy’s non-compliance with the Friendship, Partnership and Co-Operation treaty. Al-Mahmudi noted that Italian investments in Libya amounted to $30 billion.
“We will build oil relations with countries that respect the Libyan people, even if the whole world treats us as an enemy,” the prime minister said.
Libyans interviewed by Magharebia, however, were sceptical of the regime pronouncements.
“I don’t know how the world could possibly believe Kadhafi,” commented Mohamed Ali, a political observer. “He lied to the Libyan people about distributing the wealth to them, and the people are still waiting for that. He left his own people suffering from poverty while he and his sons are enjoying petrodollars in their frivolous parties.”
Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmudi and Oil Minister Omran Abukraa brief reporters on their plans for the petroleum sector.
Meanwhile, Libyans expressed concern over reports the international community was prepared to negotiate with Kadhafi, an indicted war criminal. Residents of Tripoli said that Kadhafi was only using talks as a stalling tactic to garner more time to mobilise his forces and suppress dissent.
Transitional National Council chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil said that the rebels were prepared to study any initiative that included Kadhafi’s departure. He added that no negotiations were made with Kadhafi, and that talk about negotiations with Kadhafi was only a false allegation.
Kadhafi’s fate will be determined by the Libyan people, according to Sheikh Ali Salabi, a member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars’ board of trustees. In a press statement, he said revolutionaries were making progress. He called on regime supporters to look at the aspirations of the Libyan people and not prolong Kadhafi’s rule.
According to Mrs Salema, Kadhafi is not a head of a state, but the head of a gang or militia who can buy people off with his own money.
“We know quite well in Libya that he’s a bluffer and a crook; otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to stay in power for 42 years in spite of his lies about not ruling the country. How can the capital be without fuel, security and stability? Gunshots are heard every day repeatedly, while the prices of basic commodities have gone sky high and are burdening citizens,” she said.
She continued, “In the meantime, Kadhafi is deceiving the entire world by saying that life is normal, and that the people are enjoying the beach and are getting married at Bab Aziziya. It’s all deception.”
“The map is vast, and the areas that were liberated from Kadhafi’s fist are steadily increasing,” said Jalal, a media professional. “I here wonder whether looking for a political solution can come from a deceitful regime that lies even to its own media.”