Sirte, March 29: Tribal leaders and other local representatives have met in Sirte in an effort to resolve ongoing tensions and . . .[restrict]enable much-needed reconstruction and reconciliation to take place.
The meeting comes on the back of two shooting incidents that have taken place over the last fortnight, one of them against an Interior Ministry convoy that was in town to provide security for NTC chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil during his visit on 22 March.
With the city of Misrata reportedly making plans to send a delegation to Sirte in the near future, ensuring that similar incidents are not repeated is seen as vital.
According to a Libya Herald source, the meeting was aimed not only at resolving tensions amongst Sirte’s various factions, but also to agree on a common way forwards for the town. It is not yet known whether the meeting was successful in these aims.
The challenges currently facing Sirte are viewed as immense. Last November, when the then Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril estimated the cost of rebuilding Libya at $400 billion, Sirte was said to account for the single largest proportion of that sum.
Prior to the revolution, Sirte had a population of 75,000. It is estimated that because of the destruction, less than 30 percent of that number are now living there.
These challenges are compounded by the profound psychological difficulties of rehabilitating Sirte into post-revolutionary Libya, given the uniqueness of the town’s relationship with Qaddafi, and the ferocity of its last stand against revolutionary forces last year. [/restrict]