Oil and Gas Minister Mohamed Aoun and Economy and Trade Minister Mohamed Hwej contradicted each other publicly yesterday over the appointment of Hwej as temporary acting Oil and Gas Minister during the Turkish delegation’s Tripoli visit yesterday.
In recorded media clips, Aoun said he was ‘‘surprised’’ by the appointment of Hwej as his replacement during his official trip to South Africa. He claimed this was ”unprecedented” and usually happens only during holidays. However, he said he was informed of the appointment.
Aoun has reservations on some parts of the MoU
Aoun did stress he did not object to the signing of the MoU with Turkey, even though he had some ”reservations” on the MoU. He said the appointment of Hwej may be because of his objections to some sections of the MoU.
Aoun’s revelation that he had some reservations on the oil and gas section of the multi-sector MoU set the questioning and conspiratorial traditional and social medias into a spiral. Was Aoun sent away and was the MoU signed specifically when Aoun was away? Was Turkey taking advantage of a weak Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba government and a weak Libya?
On the other hand, in his released video clip, Hwej, said it was normal protocol for a Minister and not a Deputy Minister to meet a visiting Minister. He said Aoun had been informed of the purely procedural move and had been aware of and approved the MoU.
MoU v Binding agreement
Hwej stressed that what was signed with Turkey yesterday was purely a non-binding MoU which either party could annul within months. He stressed nothing was given away to Turkey in the MoU.
The Aoun v Hwej story completely distracted from the signing of the Libyan-Turkish MoU, which raises the question of whether it was a premeditated distraction, and by whom and for what reason. The reaction also highlights the sensitivities to Turkish intervention in Libya.