Shukri Ghanem

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Shukri Mohammed Ghanem Al-Mesmary
شكري محمد غانم المسماري
Shukri Ghanem.jpg
Minister of Oil
In office
1 March 2006 – 16 May 2011
Preceded by Fathi Ben Shatwan
Prime Minister of Libya
In office
14 June 2003 – 5 March 2006
Preceded by Imbarek Shamekh
Succeeded by Baghdadi Mahmudi
Personal details
Born (1942-10-09)9 October 1942
Tripoli, Libya
Died 29 April 2012(2012-04-29) (aged 69)
Vienna, Austria
Alma mater Garyounis University
Tufts University

Shukri Mohammed Ghanem (Arabic: شكري محمد غانم‎) (9 October 1942 – 29 April 2012) was a Libyan politician who was the General Secretary of the General People's Committee of Libya (prime minister) from June 2003 until March 2006 when, in the first major government re-shuffle in over a decade, he was replaced by his deputy, Baghdadi Mahmudi. Ghanem subsequently served as the Minister of Oil until 2011. On 29 April 2012, his body was found floating on the New Danube, Vienna.[1][2]

Early in the Libyan civil war he reportedly "fled",[3] but after the city of Ra's Lanuf was recaptured by pro-government forces, AP reported on 13 March that he asked Eni SpA for help with putting out a fire at the Ra's Lanuf Refinery.[4] On 16 May, Al Arabiya and the NTC reported that Shukri Ghanem defected to Tunisia. The next day Tunisian security officials confirmed he had indeed defected into Tunisia.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Ghanem was born in Tripoli on 9 October 1942.[6] He studied economics at Garyounis University in Benghazi and graduated in 1963.[6] He also held PhD in international economics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 1975.[7]

Career[edit]

Ghanem was previously in charge of the OPEC secretariat, and was the Director of its Research Division. He served as Deputy Director and Director of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Economy in Libya; was Director of Marketing of Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC); was Director of Economic Affairs and Under Secretary and Chief Advisor at the Ministry of Petroleum in Libya. In 2003, Ghanem was appointed General Secretary of the General People’s Committee or Prime Minister.[7] In March 2006, Ghanem was appointed Chairman of Libya's NOC. He tendered his resignation from NOC in August 2009 amidst probable disagreements within the Libyan government over the development of the oil sector.

After defection to Vienna in 2011, he served as a consultant for a Vienna-based company until his death.[8]

International relations[edit]

Libya had been diplomatically isolated and subject to international sanctions since the November 1991 indictment of two Libyans for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on 21 December 1988 (the Lockerbie bombing). Following Ghanem's appointment as prime minister, Libya successfully sought re-entry into the international community and the lifting of sanctions. Ghanem was seen as the main spokesman and architect of this rapprochement, which included paying $2.16 billion compensation in August 2003 to the families of the 270 people who died in the bombing, and renouncing weapons of mass destruction.

Controversy[edit]

In February 2004, Ghanem was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Today program.[9] He stirred controversy in the interview by repudiating Libya's responsibility both for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and the 1984 murder of British WPC Yvonne Fletcher (who was shot and killed in April 1984 outside the Libyan Embassy in London). This incident led to the severing of UK/Libya diplomatic relations.

"After the problems we [Libya] have been facing because of the sanctions, the loss of money, we thought that it was easier for us to buy peace and this is why we agreed a compensation," Ghanem said in the interview.

When asked whether the payment of compensation meant that Libya did not accept any guilt or responsibility, Ghanem replied:

"I agree with that, and this is why I say we bought peace."

Under pressure from the United States and Britain, Ghanem's comments were quickly retracted by Gaddafi.

It is unclear whether Shukri Ghanem's dismissal as prime minister in 2006 was a consequence of those controversial remarks he made two years earlier.

Libyan civil war[edit]

On 16 May 2011, it was reported that Ghanem has defected from the Gaddafi government and fled,[10] which was confirmed the next day by Tunisian security officials.[5] On 8 April 2011, against the background of the Libyan civil war, the US Treasary department announced sanctions against him.[11] In May 2011, he defected to Rome and then, Vienna.[6] On 1 June 2011, Ghanem confirmed in Rome, that he had decided to join the Libyan opposition.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Ghanem was married and had four children, three daughters and a son.[7]

Death[edit]

Ghanem then lived with his family in Vienna, Austria, where he had an apartment and also, one of his daughters lives.[13] Prior to his death, Ghanem had expressed concerns about the latest developments in Libya.

Ghanem's body was found fully clothed floating at 5 AM instead of the reported 08:40 CEST on 29 April 2012 in a branch of the River Danube though there were no signs of violence.[8] He was 69.[6] An Austrian foreign ministry official said the family initially told the ministry that Ghanem had died of a heart attack which was later denied by police. A BBC report noted the cause of death was not clear and police have ordered a post-mortem.[14] Toxicology tests were still being undertaken while Ghanem's body had been released for burial. His coffin, wrapped in a white flag, was returned to Tripoli and buried there at the beginning of May 2012.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Former Libyan PM, Oil Exec Ghanem Dies in Austria". Tripoli Post. 29 April 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Ex-Libyan oil minister's body found in Danube". Al Jazeera. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Live blog". Al Jazeera. 21 February 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  4. ^ Libya oil minister seeks help from Italy's Eni in extinguishing fire at Ras Lanouf facility
  5. ^ a b Boudreaux, Richard (18 May 2011). "Oil Chief Leaves Libya As Regime Is Targeted". The Wall Street Journal. 
  6. ^ a b c d Mostyn, Trevor (8 May 2012). "Shukri Ghanem obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c "Shukri Ghanem". The Telegraph. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Vinter, Phil (30 April 2012). "Gaddafi's former oil minister found floating in river Danube". Daily Mail. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Thomson, Mike (February 2004). "The Libyan Prime Minister". BBCRadio 4. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Libya's top oil official has defected: TV reports". Reuters. 16 May 2011. 
  11. ^ "Increasing Pressure on the Qadhafi Regime". US Department of Treasury. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Libyan oil minister defects, says he might join opposition". CNN. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2011. 
  13. ^ "Obituary: Libya's Shukri Ghanem". Al Jazeera. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "Libya ex-Minister Shukri Ghanem dead in Danube River". BBC News. 29 April 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  15. ^ "Body of Shukri Ghanem Brought Home for Burial, Investigation Continues". The Tripoli Post. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mubarak Abdallah al-Shamikh
General Secretary of the General People's Committee of Libya
14 June 2003 – 5 March 2006
Succeeded by
Baghdadi Mahmudi