By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 14 November 2016:
The Presidency Council will not allow Jufra in central Libya to become an area of conflict, its head, Faiez Serraj, said today while on a visit to the area. On the contrary, it would be the place to launch national reconciliation, he said. Meeting with members of the local municipal council and of the elders’ council, Serraj also raised the possibility of a civil airport being opened within the massive Jufra airbase, and of splitting off Jufrah campus of the University of Sirte and constituting it as a separate university.
Serraj was accompanied on his flying visit to the area by local government minister Bidad Gansu Massoud as well as some members of the House of Representatives and the State Council. They were briefed by the municipal council on the various problems facing ordinary Jufra residents, notably the problems in the heathcare service and the supply of water.
There have been concerns that Jufra could become the place where the Libyan National Army, led by Khalifa Hafter, and the mainly Misrtan forces, loyal to the PC, first come to blows. The Misratans currently hold Jufra airbase, and with it the neighbouring towns of Waddan, Hun and Sukna, but the LNA is just 160 kilometres away, in the Zillah oil field. Acting PC minister of defence, Al-Mahdi Al-Barghathi was in Jufra at the beginning of the month to boost defences there and to see if the ministry should not decamp and set up its major operations base there.
Before leaving, Serraj and the various members of his team visited the hospital in Hun, the vocational institution in Sukna and colleges in Waddan.
There have been numerous calls for Waddan and Hun to be the location for Libyan dialogue, on the basis that both are relatively free from outside pressures and influence, and that there is suitable accommodation available.