Dbaiba’s Interview with Anadolu: Gaining Parliamentary Confidence and Special Relationship with Turkey – Al Marsad

The Prime Minister of the interim government Abdul Hamid Dbaiba held his first press interview exclusively with the Turkish Anadolu Agency since he was selected for the new post by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF). He said in the interview that he would be in solidarity with Turkey and would try to solve the major problems facing Libya.

(Libya, 7 February 2021) – Anadolu Agency said about the interview with its correspondent in Tripoli, Mücahit Demir: “This is the first interview of Anadolu with Dbaiba, the day after his designation, in which the Libyan Prime Minister talks about priorities of the new government, the establishment of internal peace in the country, the investigation of war crimes and Turkish-Libyan relations.”

Dbaiba, who welcomed the members of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) who returned from Switzerland yesterday at Mitiga airport in Tripoli, said: “The LPDF was formed with the participation of all parts of Libya, therefore, it is a representative of all its geography, tribes and societal segments.” He added, “it is important for peaceful, democratic and free change for the benefit of Libya and Libyans … the whole world witnessed this decision through the media, and we welcomed them in their honor.”

GOVERNMENT FORMATION DATE

In the interview Dbaiba said: “The LPDF members were happy with the result that they reached, I only know a few of them. Within the framework of implementing the decisions taken in the dialogue, we will form the government in three weeks and it will be presented to the House of Representatives (HoR) to gain its confidence.”

In response to a question about whether his government would include names from the previous government, he said, “It might; we will be a technocrat government that includes appropriate merit-based names proving itself with its authority to act and represent all parts of Libya fairly, but we will focus on technocrats in its management.”

PRIORITIES

On the question of the priorities of his government, after receiving confidence from Parliament, Dbaiba said it would be “providing vaccination against COVID-19, power outages, the constitution and peace committees.”

He explained that “vaccination will be a priority, as well as the power outage, which is one of the biggest problems in Libya, power outages five hours a day makes life difficult for Libyans.”

In the context of COVID-19 he added: “This is an important issue for the Libyans as well as for all the peoples of the world. We will do our best to get vaccines for Libyans, followed by vital difficulties on issues, such as electricity, health, daily living and then issues of forming peace committees and drafting the constitution by working with the Presidential Council.”

In response to a question about the content of the plan to establish “peace committees”, Dbaiba drew attention to the importance of achieving social peace to solve the Libyan crisis, and that they would form these committees “to bring peace between Libyans within the country.”

“People, tribes and rival groups will meet, we will draw up a compensation budget this year until December elections. I hope to see rapprochement in Libya, we will consensus Libyans’ points of view with each other, this is the only way we can go to elections in perfect unison. We will visit all the Libyan cities as much as possible, without distinguishing between violence, war and cities, we will work in all of it. The government of national unity will truly be the Libyan national unity government.”

GAINING CONFIDENCE

Abdul Hamid Dbaiba with Turkish journalist, Mücahit Demir.

Dbaiba also commented on relations with the eastern region, which is currently under the interim government led by Abdullah al-Thini, which the Turkish news agency Anadolu described as being “founded in the eastern region controlled by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar”, commander of what it called “illegal forces in Libya.” Commenting on the statement issued by Al-Thini that he would hand over power once the new LPDF interim government is approved by the House of Representatives (HoR), Dbaiba said: “Our government needs the approval of the HoR in Tobruk. In this case, it makes sense for the government to wait for al-ThIni’s government, and it seems that the HoR has already announced that it welcomes the outcome of the LPDF, and the decision is for Libyans to make, that is the Libyan people.”

In reference to representing all Libyans through the LPDF, Dbaiba added: “The people welcomed the election of the government, and the HoR is also part of the Libyan people. I do not think it is possible for them to enter a line other than the one set by the elections through dialogue.”

Although Dbaiba uses the term “election” in the interview with Anadolu, it is important to understand that both him and the rest of the new Presidential Council members were “appointed” by the LPDF, in a vote that only involved LPDF members—who in turn, were appointed by the American head of UNSMIL, Stephanie Williams. Both members of the LPDF and the candidates they voted on did not go through any vetting process whatsoever for conflict of interest or criminal backgrounds. The interiml Presidential Council and the Prime Minister were not elected by the Libyan public and their remit is to ensure that Parliamentary and Presidential elections happen on 24 December 2021, as per their pledge at the LPDF.

RELATIONS WITH TURKEY

On relations with Turkey, Dbaiba said: “There will be very great solidarity with the Turkish people and the Turkish state. Turkey is our ally, friend and brother, Turkey has big capabilities to support Libyans to reach their real targets. Turkey is a real partner for us.”

ِAnadolu Agency asked him, as a businessman, about trade relations between Turkey and Libya, to which he answered: “Libyans during wartime were able to visit Turkey freely through the airport, the only country that opened its embassy in Tripoli was Turkey, there is solidarity in the economic sphere between Turkey and the Libyans. I hope to develop this solidarity and increase the volume of trade to the highest levels.”

Anadolu Agency asked the following question to Dbaiba, given its pro-Erdogan editorial stance: “In Libya, the militias of Khalifa Haftar are accused of committing war crimes, some of which have been presented to the International Criminal Court’s agenda, such as mass graves in Tarhuna, extrajudicial executions, internal displacement of hundreds of thousands of Libyans, and mine traps.”

Dbaiba answered the question of what take steps he would take to hold war crimes to account by saying, “War crimes will be concerned by the authorities of law, but we are in a difficult stage for the establishment of peace in Libya. Both sides have to compromise.” He said that those “whose crimes are proved will be held accountable”.

Dbaiba’s profile was described by Anadolu as follows:

  • Dbaiba was born in 1958 in Misrata and is known as an influential businessman in the construction field. He is an independent person who is accepted among Libyan political circles.
  • After the Libyan revolution that ousted the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in February 2011, he headed the oldest Libyan football club, Al-Ittihad Club.
  • Dbaiba founded Libya al-Mustakbal (Libya Future) Movement and has support from western tribes.
  • He holds a master’s degree in engineering from Canada.

Anadolu conveniently omitted all information on the allegations of bribery at the LPDF and the wider accusations of kleptocracy. A recent in-depth article published by the Investigative Journal had described the Dbaiba family in a more fuller manner:

“On the Libyan side of the coin is the Dabaiba family, from the industrial city of Misrata in Libya, who are close to Erdogan himself and have helped facilitate Turkey’s intervention in the Libyan civil war. The Dabaibas are politically congenial to Erdogan, being perceived as close to Libya’s Muslim brothers and to the formerly influential Libyan Grand Mufti. But the most important tie is simply money. As much as $19 billion in Libyan construction contracts were awarded to Turkish companies by Libyan state bodies controlled by first cousins and brothers-in-law Abdul Hamid Dabaiba, the head of the Libyan Investment and Development Holding Company (LIDCO) from 2006 until the present and Ali Dabaiba, the head of the Organisation for Development of Administrative Centers (ODAC) from 1989-2011.”

© Al-Marsad English (2021)

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