Published: Wed, January 22, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

U.S. embassy calls for ‘immediate resumption’ of oil operations in Libya

U.S. embassy calls for ‘immediate resumption’ of oil operations in Libya

Last week, Ankara revealed it would provide support to the UN-backed Government of National Accord in Libya by sending military troops to assist the GNA in fighting its rivals - the Libyan National Army, which control the east of the country.

"First, we need to have a ceasefire - we can not monitor something that doesn't exist".

Since April previous year the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli has fought back against an offensive by fighters loyal to Haftar, who is supported by several countries including Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and France.

Discussing Libya's vital oil reserves, Sarraj said the North African nation would face a "catastrophic situation" if Haftar's forces continued blockading oilfields.

An LNA field commander told Asharq Al-Awsat: "The ceasefire has all but collapsed".

On Sunday, as global leaders were gathering in the German capital, the NOC said the major southwestern fields of El Sharara and El Feel were closing after forces loyal to Haftar shut a pipeline.

If Libyan exports are halted for any sustained period, storage tanks will fill within days and production will slow to 72,000 barrels per day (bpd), said a spokesman for state oil company NOC.

Al-Sarraj says, while Haftar is "not a serious partner for achieving peace in Libya", a political solution is the only way to end the conflict and an to avoid for Libya to become "another Syria or a source of conflict or a proxy war on Libyan soil".

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The country is now split between two rival administrations: the GNA, led by Sarraj, and the House of Representatives based in the eastern city of Tobruk, which is linked to Haftar.

He again ruled out meeting Haftar. Social media posts issued by supporters of Haftar's LNA instead spoke about recruiting 4,000 extra volunteers.

Foreign powers agreed at a summit in Berlin on Sunday to shore up the shaky truce in Libya, which has been in turmoil since the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi as two rival governments in the east and the west vie for power and energy resources.

Haftar's forces have closed Libya's major oil ports since Friday.

However Serraj and Haftar did not meet at the summit, Merkel said, highlighting the gulf between the two.

Erdoğan defended his troop presence in Libya, claiming the Russian security company Wagner had 2,500 security personnel in the country working for Haftar.

The UAE's foreign minister, Anwar Gargash, moved to challenge reports that his country, Haftar's chief military backer, was discouraging the general from winding down his military operations, tweeting that the UAE backed the Berlin outcome. Merkel said "that is a question for the real cease-fire".

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