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Iran Press TV

Libya rebels ready to talk if Tripoli cancels offensive

Iran Press TV

Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:26PM GMT

The Libyan rebels, who control three oil export ports, say they are ready to negotiate with the central government if Tripoli's plans for a military offensive are scrapped.

Abd-Rabbo al-Barassi, the head of the self-declared Barqa government in the eastern part of the OPEC member country, said on Saturday that talks could begin if the government withdrew troops dispatched to central Libya to face them.

'This is the condition,' Barassi said, adding, the tanker that loaded oil at one of the rebel-held ports last week had reached its destination. He refused to comment on the destination, but said more ships were expected to arrive at the ports.

On March 8, a North Korean-flagged tanker reportedly started loading at the rebel-held Es Sider port despite earlier threats by the Libyan government to bomb the ship.

The exact whereabouts of the North Korean-flagged tanker cannot be confirmed, but Libyan officials said the navy lost contact with the tanker after firing on it on Monday or Tuesday.

Following the report, the parliament voted Prime Minister Ali Zeidan out of office on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the government warned the rebels to clear the ports or face a military strike.

Since August 2013, the rebels have managed to seize three major Libyan ports.

The rebels refuse to lay down arms despite efforts by the central government to impose law and order.

During a conference held in the Italian capital Rome on March 6, senior officials from over 40 countries said the ongoing tensions in Libya could slip out of control if a political solution was not found.

'The situation in Libya is very worrying,' French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters on the sidelines of the second Ministerial Conference on International Support to Libya.

NT/NN/AS



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