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Libya: Two Ministers Under Investigation for Disrespecting President | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Revolutionary Council (of the Libyan government) is investigating two government officials for what it describes as ungentlemanly conduct towards Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, as well as addressing him in an inappropriate manner.

Libyan sources revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the Revolutionary Council has summoned two ministers for questioning with regards to events surrounding a meeting held by Gaddafi last week. The meeting was attended by senior government officials and the Parliament in order to discuss Gaddafi’s ideas of distribution of oil revenues directly to the people, and the related plan to abolish much of the Libyan states apparatus.

Tayyib Al Safi Al Tayyib, former Libyan Secretary of Economy, Trade and Investments, and who since January 2007 has held the post of Secretary of the People’s Committees Affairs in the Libyan General Parliament, has been accused on charges of ungentlemanly conduct and of addressing the Libyan leader inappropriately during the afore-mentioned meeting.

The publication ‘Korina’ revealed that some of the more revolutionary Centers (Mathaba) in Tripoli were demanding that Al Safi be investigated due to his insistence in addressing Gaddafi as ‘Brother Muammar’ which he did more than 10 times during the meeting. Especially since Libyans, and particularly members of the Revolutionary Council (of which Al Safi is a founding member) are not accustomed to doing so.

It was also revealed that other Centers (Mathaba) in the Bani Walid region and Tripoli, were working to recommend that the Secretary of Energy, Umran Abu-Kar’aaa also be investigated on charges of ungentlemanly conduct. Abu-Kar’aaa had interrupted Gaddafi during the meeting in an inappropriate manner on more than one occasion, repeating the words ‘Do you understand? Do you understand?!’

The Libyan leader had attended two consecutive meetings with his senior advisors which were later broadcast on state television, whereupon a wide opposition to Gaddafi’s ideas was displayed. Western sources and Libyan opponents have said that the fact that these meetings were televised is a prelude to a U-turn regarding the implementation of these ideas.

This is the first time that Libyan officials have raised the subject as to the official protocol of addressing Gaddafi, noting that the official title of Colonel Gaddafi is ‘Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution’. From time to time, Libya has copied the example of foreign media by addressing Gaddafi – who does not officially hold any executive position in the state – as President, or Colonel.

Colonel Gaddafi- who is preparing for next month’s visit to London in attendance of an international conference on energy and oil- discussed the financial crisis with the visiting British Prince Andrew, Duke of York. The Libyan news agency JANA also announced that Prince Andrew had suggested that Gaddafi meet with senior economic analysts and strategists. Although the timing and location of this meeting was not announced, Libyan sources have divulged to Asharq Al-Awsat that this meeting will take place during Gaddafi’s forthcoming visit to London.

Colonel Gaddafi also invented the term ‘SATO’ which he hopes will be a new alliance formed between the African Union and South America, to confront the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, otherwise known as NATO. During the welcome banquet of Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s visit to Tripoli, Gaddafi said ‘We urge that during the next joint-summit between Latin America and Africa we lay the foundations for SATO, along the same organizational lines of NATO’. Gaddafi sees SATO as fostering cooperation and alliance between Latin America and Africa, saying that just as NATO is a presence in the North Atlantic, SATO will be a force in the South Atlantic.

The Argentinean President- who arrived in Tripoli after making similar visits to Egypt and Algeria on a round-trip launching Argentina’s political relations with the Arab world- played down Gaddafi’s remarks, but said that she agreed with his opinions regarding international balance, and the understanding of politics and international relations. De Kirchner pointed out that the aim of Gaddafi’s hoped-for Southern Alliance should not be confrontation; but on the contrary it should be a source for cooperation which the world sorely needs.