By Moutaz Ali.
Tripoli, 14 November 2016:
Deputy Presidency Council (PC) leader Fathi Majbri has condemned the decision to reduce staff at Libyan embassies abroad.
He has called on the head of the Administrative Control Authority (ACA) to block it, claiming that October’s decision is not only full of legal errors but would also create breaches of contract.
The PC issued decision No. 291 for 2016 on 18 October under which embassies would be classified into four different levels, depending on their importance, with numbers of staff based on their levels
Level one embassies would have up to 16 employees, Level two 11, Level Three would have six and level four just 4. In a few exceptional cases where there is a special relations or there are large numbers of Libyan resident, such as Egypt and Tunisia, there could be more.
The decision was allegedly taken after acting foreign minister Mohamed Taha Siala drew up a report on embassy staffing and presented it to Serraj.
Majbri, however, insists that any decision on embassy staffing has to be approved by the House of Representatives (HoR). He also says that decision No. 291 was never put to members of the PC to debate or decide – that Serraj himself made a unilateral decision. As such, Majbri says, it goes against the Libyan Political Agreement.
There have been regular calls over the past two for a cull in Libya’s over-bloated diplomatic service. Nearly two years ago, Abdullah Thinni said there had to be cuts and even embassy closures. Since then, however, numbers have continued to rise with many senior officials lobbying for posts abroad, away from the violence, power cuts, inflation, lack of cash and the many other difficulties of everyday life in Libya at present.
There are claims that in his opposition to last month’s announcement, Majberi, who supports Cyrenaica federalism, is playing to a Cyrenaica audience.
It is said that many of those given diplomatic posts in the past couple of years by the Beida-based Thinni administration are from Cyrenaica.