By Hadi Fornaji.
Tunis, 17 August 2017:
Sirte mayor Mukhtar Al-Madani discussed the battered town’s massive rehabilitation needs with British ambassador Peter Millett today. Believed to be the first official meeting between the mayor and any foreign ambassador, it took place in Misrata during the ambassador’s visit there.
No details of UK help to rebuild the town were disclosed although Millett indicted that support would be provided. “With mayor of #Sirte Mukhtar Al-Madani today. Important to help citizens of Sirte to return to their homes safely & improve services”, he later tweeted.
Sirte indirectly receives some funding from the UK through the Libya Stabilisation Facility. The internationally-backed fund has so far set aside $7.6 million to help rebuild the town’s badly damaged Ibn Sin hospital and has already handed over 10 ambulances for it. However, it is a drop in the ocean compared to the town’s total needs. Even before before last year’s devastating fight with the so-called Islamic State to recover it, it had been estimated that the reconstruction bill as a result of the fighing during the revolution ran into billions of dollars.
In Misrata, Millett also met with its mayor and council and other political leaders. Following just days after UN special envoy’s first visit there, he reiterated that the UK fully supported UNSMIL’s efforts in Libya. He also stated British backing for the Misratan political leadership’s efforts to reconcile with eastern Libya, seen in the talks between the two in Cairo at the beginning of the month.