By Sami Zaptia.
London, 11 February 2016:
The Central Bank of Libya (CBL) has refuted claims that it is fueling Libya’s civil war by continuing to pay the salaries of the country’s warring militias.
The accusation was made in an article published two days ago in London’s Telegraph newspaper.
The article had reported that “Libya’s central bank has fueled the civil war by continuing to pay state salaries to all the country’s myriad warring militias, Britain’s ambassador to Tripoli said on Monday.”
The report was alluding to testimony that British ambassador Peter Millett had delivered before a committee of the House of Lords concerning conditions in Libya relating to the formation of the Government of National Accord.
The CBL, in a statement issued today, complained that “contrary to proper journalistic practice, CBL was not contacted by the paper in question and was not given an opportunity to correct or respond to this report”.
Moreover, the CBL continued, “the (Telegraph) report is incorrect, as Ambassador Millett himself promptly noted in a Tweet following the publication of the article: “Reports re my comments on militia payments & #Libya Central Bank were taken out of context. Focus was how to bring peace and security.”
The CBL said that it “remains committed to insuring that Libyan state assets are managed in accordance with the laws, established regulations and procedures for financing government operations in Libya”.
“CBL has consistently acted, and will continue to act, to insure that funds are not diverted in any fashion that would promote political conflict or acts of terrorism”, it added.
“The CBL has and will continue to work closely with the lawful representatives of the Libyan government and leaders of the international community to accomplish these ends”, The statement concluded.
The CBL was vague in its statement as to who it regarded as the “Libyan government”, with Libya arguably enjoying three governments: The old internationally recognised government based in Al-Beida, the self proclaimed Tripoli-based government and the soon to be recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) currently still based in exile between Tunis and Skhirat, Morocco.
Libya Herald was present at the House of Lords hearing during which British ambassador Peter Millett referred to the fact that Libya was unique in that it was the only country in which the CBL was paying the salaries of the militias.
It is open to interpretation if his remarks were explicitly an accusation at the CBL. However, the implication was clear that the CBL was indeed subsidising the militias – despite his subsequent Twitter retraction which as a diplomat is expected.
Millett went on to say at the House of Lordsthe question of why the CBL continued to pay militia salaries that he was told they held a gun to an official’spokesperson head and forced to pay [/restrict]