Libya's parliament-appointed government threatens oil blockade over Tripoli government's use of energy revenues

Alwasat - Cairo Sat 24 Jun 2023, 02:21 PM
alwasat radio

The parliament-appointed Government of National Stability based in eastern Libya threatened to blockade oil exports on Saturday over the Tripoli-based government's use of energy revenue, accusing it of wasting billions of dollars without providing real services.

"If necessary, the Libyan government will raise the red flag and prevent the flow of oil and gas and stop its export by turning to the judiciary and issuing an order declaring force majeure," the parliament-designated administration said, referring to itself as the government.

The last major blockade was resolved last year when the Government of National Unity in Tripoli appointed a new head of National Oil Corporation (NOC) who was said to be close to Khalifa Haftar.

Diplomacy for a lasting solution to Libya's conflict has focused on moving towards a national election, a goal all sides publicly espouse, but which has been repeatedly thwarted by disputes over electoral rules and interim control of the government.

Haftar said on June 17 he backed a move by the eastern-based parliament and another legislative body to appoint a new interim administration in a clear challenge to the current government in Tripoli.

On Thursday a court in eastern Libya ruled that the eastern administration had won a case against NOC allowing it to take control of the company's accounts.

Previous bouts of conflict in Libya and political maneuvering have focused on control over the OPEC member's substantial energy revenues, the main source of income for the state.

Under internationally recognized agreements NOC is the only legitimate producer and exporter of Libyan oil and sales must be channeled through the Central Bank of Libya, which like NOC is based in Tripoli.

Throughout Libya's conflict, NOC has functioned across the whole country regardless of front lines and the central bank has continued to pay salaries, including those of many fighters on rival sides, throughout the country

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