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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Libya rebels say will continue blockade on oil despite deal with govt.

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 12 July 2020 7:28 AM

Rebels in Libya say they will continue a blockade on the country's oil industry despite an agreement with the Tripoli government on reopening oil ports and fields.

A spokesman for the rebel Libyan National Army (LNA), Ahmed Mismari, said in an online statement on Saturday that the blockade – which Libya's National Oil Corp (NOC) says has so far cost the country 6.5 billion dollars in lost revenue – would remain in place until the rebels' demands are met on the distribution of the country's oil income.

The rebels say proceeds from oil sales should be fairly distributed among all Libyan regions and not fund the sectors of the internationally-recognized government in the capital.

The blockade was imposed by the rebels in January, when the rebels managed to take control of Libya's oil export terminals and fields in the east. That has caused a reduction in oil production and exports to just 100,000 barrels per day compared to the 1.2 million barrels before.

The rebels' announcement about the continued blockade came a day after the NOC lifted force majeure on all oil exports from Libya following negotiations and a partial agreement between the Libyan government and the rebels, who control Libya's oil infrastructure in the country's east.

The NOC has said that the damage done to Libyan oil fields during the war mean that it would take a long time to fully restore production.

Libya has been in chaos since 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Since 2014, two rival seats of power have emerged, namely the internationally-recognized Libyan government, headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in Tripoli, and another group, based in the eastern city of Tobruk, supported militarily by rebels under the command of a military strongman named Khalifa Haftar.

The two sides have been fighting over territory and state assets. The Libyan government forces have recently managed to gain the upper hand, with crucial help from Turkey.

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