Libya Parliament Chief Appeals for Calm Amid Dearth of Investors

Libya’s parliamentary chief and de- facto head of state said foreign companies’ reluctance to move in was a sign of growing chaos, as he implored all to work to stabilize the nation two years after the start of the uprising against Muammar Qaddafi.

“It’s the responsibility of all the people, not just the government, to keep the country safe and secure,” Mohammed Magariaf said in a televised speech from Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city and the birthplace of the 2011 revolt. “The first proof of the country not being safe is the foreign companies not wanting to come in.”

Magariaf’s call during the last official day of anniversary celebrations reflects the unease in the country that sits atop Africa’s largest proven reserves of crude. The government of Prime Minister Ali Zaidan has struggled to restore calm, grappling with a litany of problems including regional militias, Islamists and a population that has seen little in the way of an improvement in daily life.

The choice of Benghazi as the venue for his speech appeared as much a symbolic move as one reflecting the political realities in Libya. The eastern part of the country was the first to jockey for greater autonomy from the central government in Tripoli, threatening to undercut the fitful push to stability over the past few months.

The government has also struggled to reform the legal sector, meeting resistance both from Qaddafi loyalists and from regions jostling for what they see as a fair share of the spoils after the revolution.

Magariaf said it was critical that Libya deal with corruption, which he described as having become an “addiction.”

“Let’s say no to corruption. Let’s say no to chaos,” he said, adding that “we must stand together to stop the racism, the violence -- to stand together as one country.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo at teltablawy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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