October 5, 2009 / 10:49 PM / 9 years ago

Gaddafi says to deliver "secret" speech on Tuesday

RABAT (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will discuss domestic policy on Tuesday in what he termed a “secret” speech to high-ranking supporters that will not be broadcast.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's arrives at the venue of the Africa-South America Summit in Margarita Island September 25, 2009. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Gaddafi has been uncharacteristically quiet on domestic issues in recent months and Tuesday’s speech will be the first time he has discussed internal policy since February.

“We will meet tomorrow and the talk and the speech will be secret,” he told thousands of supporters, including government officials, military and policy commanders, gathered to mark the 50th anniversary of his Free Unionists Movement on Monday.

“Our meeting tomorrow will focus on our own issues,” he said in a speech broadcast live on Libyan state television from the oasis city of Sabha, some 800 km (500 miles) south of Tripoli.

“The address will not be broadcast,” he said.

Many Libyans have said they are baffled by Gaddafi’s unusual silence regarding Libya’s domestic affairs, especially since he failed to address them when he celebrated the 40th anniversary of coming to power on September 1.

Gaddafi has been outspoken on foreign issues, criticizing the U.N. Security Council as tool of big powers and backing cooperation between South America and Africa to counter what he called Western hegemony.

Gaddafi told the gathering in Sabha that his “revolution’s aims were to free Libya from foreign occupation and give the power and the wealth directly to the Libyan people as a whole,” he said.

Many Libyans have said they are eager to hear Gaddafi say more about promises to dismantle the government he blamed for widespread corruption and his plan to hand oil revenues directly to Libyans.

His scheme to distribute oil money directly to the population of about 5 million has run up against opposition from senior officials who stand to lose their jobs in a government purge.

Officials including Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi and Central Bank Governor Farhat Omar Bin Guidara have told Gaddafi the move could do long-term damage to the OPEC member country’s economy.

Many Libyans say they have not benefited from rising oil revenues and foreign investment after Libya in 2003 abandoned prohibited weapons programs and ended its international isolation.

Reporting by Lamine Ghanmi; editing by Robin Pomeroy

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