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Libyan sovereignty in 'danger': Tarhuni

25 november 2011, 17:32
Ali Tarhuni, in charge of oil and finance in Libya's interim leadership. ©AFP
Ali Tarhuni, in charge of oil and finance in Libya's interim leadership. ©AFP
Former deputy prime minister Ali Tarhuni said on Thursday the Libyan sovereignty was in "danger", while making veiled accusations that Qatar is interfering in the nation's affairs, AFP reports.

"I see danger for the sovereignty of Libya. I see a threat for the wealth of the Libyan people," said Tarhuni who told reporters at a press conference that he be identified as Libya's former deputy prime minister.

Tarhuni, who was also the head of Libya's oil and finance portfolio until Wednesday, said that the north African country faced huge security and economic challenges.

But in a veiled reference to Qatar which provided funds and arms to former rebels who staged an armed revolt against Moamer Kadhafi, Tarhuni said the country was hearing the voices of only the "elite."

"Voices that we see now are the voices of the elite. Voices of the NTC that are not elected. Voices of those who are supported from the outside by money, arms and PR," Tarhuni said, apparently referring to Qatar but not naming it directly.

"Some states stood by us and those states have interests....some of these states are beginning to think that they have influence (in Libya's affairs) which is a mistake."

The former NTC official who claimed that he had declined an offer to be part of the new government which took office on Thursday, said that for him "the question of sovereignty was the most important", adding that 90 percent of Libyans were of "moderate current looking for a civil state."

Tarhuni said Libya also faced stiff economic and security challenges, including safeguarding its oil installations and borders and addressing the issue of unemployment.

"Challenges are many ... the building of the national army, internal security, borders, safety of installations like oil installations, absorbing of revolutionaries and how to limit arms in the streets," he said citing some of the challenges facing Libya's new rulers.

Several Libyan officials have expressed concern at the presence of arms in the hands of former rebels who fought Kadhafi's loyalists, especially in the absence of a national army.

On the economic front, Tarhuni said it was the high "30 percent unemployment" and a weak private sector that posed challenges, apart from rebuilding sectors such as health and education which were "completely destroyed".

"The system as a whole is intact with all Kadhafi elements still part of it. This is part of the anxiety of Libyan people," Tarhuni said, adding that he would work in building a social movement from outside rather than being part of a government.

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