It may be a tall order for Tripoli to reach any kind of normality soon but the city is slowly trying to get back on its feet after three months of siege and fighting.
Nevertheless, essential services such as rubbish collection are non-existent and chronic shortages of food and water continue. Petrol queues also remain painfully long. In spite of these problems the interim government appears to be trying to get a grip of the situation. But building a new system out of the old will not be easy, especially with the whereabouts of Colonel Gaddafi still not known.
Euronews’ Raquel Garcia spoke to Agostino Miozzo, Managing Director of the European External Action Service’s Crisis Response team, following his return from the Libyan capital.
Raquel Garcia, euronews: ‘‘You’ve just come back from Tripoli where you opened an EU office. Our correspondent there met you a week ago. You’re now back in Brussels but can you tell us what your impression is of the situation on the ground?’‘
Agostino Miozzo: ‘‘The situation is still very fragile. You feel that the city wants to get back to normality. But there are still a lot of variables. The social situation is precarious. There are too many weapons about, too many men with Kalashnikovs. So many guns gave me an impression of great instability.’‘
euronews: ‘‘What can Europe do to ensure security?’‘
Agostino Miozzo: ‘‘This mission, this ‘advanced team’ that has been sent there at the request of the EU’s High Representative Catherine Ashton, is already a strong signal of Europe’s presence on Libyan territory. We have hoisted the European flag on the hotel where we have opened our office. This is a very strong signal for the political representatives of the future government and for the people.’‘
euronews: ‘‘Is Gaddafi’s capture an indispensable condition for the return of normality?
Agostino Miozzo: ‘‘Finding Gaddafi is very important. Gaddafi is a spectre and remains a worrying presence – not only his physical presence but everything he represents. Gaddafi has lost the war. Gaddafi is over.But he is still present and a real concern.’‘
euronews: ‘‘NATO has excluded the possibility of putting troops on the ground. Is the European Union ready to take on a civil mission in Libya? And if so; when?’‘
Agostino Miozzo: ‘‘We and the Council have said we are available to help. It’s up to the future Libyan government to say what they need. We know they don’t need financing because Libya is a rich country. However, they will need technical assistance and know-how and that’s where Europe is ready to step in.’‘
euronews: ‘‘During your visit to Tripoli you met members of the NTC, including some representatives from the oil industry. Will the contracts signed by Gaddafi’s regime be respected?’‘
Agostino Miozzo: ‘‘They all expressed a desire for ‘business continuity’. That means the previous government international obligations will be respected and domestically all civil servants and workers will return to work. When I was in Tripoli I saw a text message that had been sent to all mobile phones in the country. It urged everyone to go back to work at the end of Ramadan.’‘