Tripoli, 14 . . .[restrict]April:
Foreign Minister Ashour Ben Khayal has said that Libya does not need all its present diplomatic missions abroad. They are, he said, putting unnecessary financial burden on the country. According to him, the Foreign Ministry’s running costs during the Qaddafi era were LD 1.2 billion a year.
Speaking in his interview with Press Solidarity News Agency, he said that the country currently has 132 diplomatic missions, more than was needed. He also pointed out that ever since Qaddafi’s so-called “People’s Revolution” of 1979 when he converted embassies into “Libyan People’s Bureaux”, security agents had been introduced into the system who were involved in all sort of criminal activities and were anything but professional diplomats.
The Foreign Ministry, he said, now has 2,700 people on its books, but that in reality it needed only 800 employees. He said that a proposal for the work of embassies and diplomatic missions had been submitted to the government and was awaiting submission to the NTC for its approval.
The ministry, he said, was in the process of restructuring a new foreign policy based on mutual respect with other countries, in particular with neighboring states, the Muslim and Arab worlds and the African continent.
He said the LD 1.2-billion figure was far too big and had to be dramatically reduced. He said the savings would be used instead to benefit the Libyan people, stressing that future Libyan foreign policies will be aimed at serving the state and not the individual.