Libya PM skips Davos to focus on electricity crisis
TRIPOLI - Libya's unity government chief Fayez al-Sarraj called off taking part in the World Economic Forum in Davos because of worsening power cuts at home, his spokesman said Thursday.
Total blackouts have struck the south and west of the North African country twice this week because of production shortages and a spike in demand due to a cold snap.
The power cuts, which can last 24 hours, also disrupt water supplies and mobile phone and internet connections, highlighting the failure of authorities to improve everyday life in Libya amid the political crises and insecurity since its 2011 revolution that toppled Moamer Kadhafi.
Sarraj, whose UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli is contested by a rival administration in eastern Libya, decided to stay away from the Swiss resort of Davos this week to focus on the electricity crisis, his spokesman Ashraf al-Thulthi said.
Tripoli itself has been left without running water for the past week because of power supply shortages which have disabled pumping stations in southern Libya.
An armed group has shut down a gas pipeline in the west that feeds a major power plant serving the capital, deepening the crisis.
In the south, residents have been left in the dark for almost two weeks, prompting local deputies of Libya's parliament based in eastern Libya to stay away in protest.
The national electricity company in the cash-strapped country says the shortages are the result mainly of the destruction of infrastructure during the anti-Kadhafi uprising.