By Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Tripoli, 3 October:
The Egyptian government is pushing Libya to pay outstanding hotel bills racked up to accommodate Libyans . . .[restrict]wounded in last year’s revolution and sent to Egypt for treatment.
The Egyptian Minister of Tourism, Hisham Zazou held a meeting on Sunday with the new Libyan ambassador to Egypt, Ashour Hamad Abu-Rashid, to discuss Libya’s proposals to pay the million of dollars owed for accommodating the wounded and their families while treatment in Egypt.
During the meeting, the Libyan ambassador promised he would seek approval from the Libyan authorities to pay 50 percent of the outstanding bills owed to of Egyptian companies and hotels in a single payment and the rest to be paid, after auditing, over an agreed period of time. He promised to discuss the matter with the Libyan authorities when he was back in Tripoli this week.
The Egyptian minister is reported to have said that once Libya made the initial 50-percent payment there would have to be another meeting between with the ambassador to agree a timetable for the payment of the rest of the money.
As to bills owed to hotels that are still accommodating wounded Libyans, Abu-Rashid agreed to hold a meeting at the Libyan embassy in Cairo to try and find a means to at least pay part of them.
The ambassador’s offer of a 50-percent payment without auditing is, however, thought unlikely to find receptive ears at the Ministry of Health which is now responsible for payment of healthcare costs of the wounded abroad, including hotel accommodation for them and their families.
Treating the war wounded abroad has cost Libya over $3 billion so far, a significant part of which is viewed by the Libyan authorities as having disappeared through corruption, false claims and mismanagement. The ministry is now insisting that all bills are rigorously audited before payment. [/restrict]