By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 19 January 2017:
Members of the House of Representatives (HoR) from the south who suspended their membership three days ago now say they will re-join the HoR only if six demands are met.
In a statement to HoR President Ageela Saleh, they insisted that the authorities had to purchase new power generators to alleviate the situation, at least in the short-term. They also asked that the Obari power station be completed, even if this meant terminating an agreement with the Turkish company contracted to build it in order to find a replacement.
The power station demand echoes that of Brak Al-Shatti mayor Nassir Saeed Salim who two days ago told the Libya Herald that its completion would solve all the power problems in the south.
Meanwhile, referring to proposals from 2013 to build an oil refinery in Obari, the Fezzan members also demanded the National Oil Corporation (NOC) urgently press forward with the project as well as undertaking further oil exploration in the region.
Attention was drawn to the state of the health service in the south and they called for greater financial aide and medical supplies for hospitals and clinics in the area, especially Sebha.
Summing up the general feeling that Fezzan had been abandoned and ignored, the members further insisted that greater funds be made available for spending there.
The Fezzan representatives had initially protested over on-going blackouts, fuel shortages and a perceived lack of interest by central government.
A thriving black market in cooking gas and fuel is now occurring, with the closure of some petrol stations leading to a spike in prices amid falling supply.
Blackouts in the south have been constant for well over a week now, with some areas experiencing a complete lack of power for more than 10 days. Intermittent protests over about it have also been held but to no effect.
Yesterday, PC head Faiez Serraj abandoned plans to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos in favour of continuing to find ways to alleviate the energy crisis that has had a crippling effect on southern and western regions.