x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

NTC will move its base to Tripoli next week

Meanwhile, Col Qaddafi's son, Saif Al Islam Qaddafi, has been travelling around areas close to Tripoli, meeting tribal leaders and preparing to retake the capital, his spokesman said.

TRIPOLI // The National Transitional Council will move its headquarters to Tripoli next week, its chairman said late last night.

"We will go to Tripoli next week. Tripoli is our capital," Abdel Jalil told dignitaries and tribal leaders in Benghazi, thanking them for their support against Col Muammar Qaddafi's regime.

Meanwhile, Col Qaddafi's son, Saif Al Islam Qaddafi, has been travelling around areas close to Tripoli, meeting tribal leaders and preparing to retake the capital, his spokesman said. In a telephone call to Reuters in Tunisia from what he said was a "southern suburb of Tripoli", Moussa Ibrahim derided the ability of the National Transitional Council to run the country after its fighters forced Col Qaddafi into hiding and said their Western backers should negotiate with the ousted leader.

NTC forces were advancing towards Col Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte despite the extension of a deadline for the town's surrender, rebel officials said, as a United Nations official warned that Libya faced short-term shortages of drinking water, food and other supplies.

While fighting has subsided in much of Libya, including the capital, the six-month war between NTC fighters and Col Qaddafi's forces disrupted supply lines and damaged infrastructure across the country, leaving many people in need of help.

In just the past few days, more than a half-dozen UN agencies have returned to Tripoli, said the UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya, Panos Moumtzis. The UN has brought in 11 million bottles of water and will bring in 600 tonnes of food and 100 million euros (Dh521m) worth of medicine. But he also said the UN help is expected to be temporary.

"This country has a lot of resources and we view the humanitarian needs as short-term," he said.