By Hadi Fornaji
Tunis, 21 June 2017:
In an unusually rapid response to events either inside or outside the country, the Presidency Council has issued a statement congratulating the son of King Salman of Saudi Arabia on his appointment as the country’s new crown prince and deputy prime minister.
The statement, in the name of Faiez Seraj, also expressed the desire to further develop relations between Libya and Saudi Arabia.
The announcement that Prince Muhammad Ibn Salman was replacing his cousin Prince Muhammad Ibn Naif was issued this morning.
The speed of the Presidency Council response is seen as an attempt to assure the Saudis of its goodwill. Questions have been asked as to where it stands in the row between Riyadh (together with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt) and Qatar in which Riyadh and the others accuse Doha of supporting terrorism by backing the Muslim Brotherhood.
Unlike the rival Beida administration and the House of Representatives which have enthusiastically fallen into line condemning Qatar, even to the point of suggesting another 75 Libyan names to the Saudi/Emirati/Egyptian list of “terrorists” linked to Doha, the PC has maintained a discreet silence on the dispute.
This is despite the fact that the four states’ terror list includes Sadek Al Ghariani who, at least theoretically, is recognised by the PC as the country’s grand mufti. Also on the list is former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group leader Abdulhakim Belhaj, Muslim Brotherhood Libya mentor Ali Salabi, his brother Ismail, former Tripoli mayor Mahdi Al-Harati and the entire Benghazi Defence Brigades.
The PC’s ability to make any statement is hampered by the fact that two members are sympathatic to the MB, Abdelsalam Kajman and Mohamed Ammari. Were the PC to come down emphatically on the Saudi side, both would almost certainly resign bringing the PC down to just four active members.