Libyan rivals agree to unify forces to safeguard oil installations | Middle East

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Libya’s warring parties have agreed to unify the forces protecting oil facilities following United Nations-sponsored talks with the head of the country’s National Oil Corporation (NOC).The talks took place on Monday in Brega, part of the coastal area known as the Petroleum Crescent, which is believed to hold most of Libyan oil.

“Today, in this historic place, at this historic moment, we have launched a process of unifying the custodians of the oil facilities,” Stephanie Williams, acting head of the UN support mission, told reporters. in Libya, to journalists in Brega.

NOC leader Mustafa Sanalla said the aim was to create a new protection force that would be made up of civilian and military personnel and that its leader would be affiliated with the company, according to Libyan television Al-Ahrar.

Oil exports are the main source of national income for Libya, a country plunged into chaos since the overthrow and murder in 2011 of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi. It has since been split into two rival camps based in the east and west of the country – and which in recent years have been vying for power.

This year, oil production was halted for nine months, as forces loyal to renegade east-based military commander Khalifa Haftar shut down oil fields and terminals to put pressure on their rivals, the government internationally. recognized national agreement (GNA) based in the capital, Tripoli.

They lifted the blockade in September.

Earlier this month, the NOC said Libyan crude oil production exceeded one million barrels per day, the same level before the blockade began in January.

Ongoing discussions

Monday’s talks took place as part of continuing military talks between the two sides.

Williams said Monday’s meeting was based on a ceasefire reached last month in the Swiss city of Geneva. Since then, delegates from both sides have met on several occasions to discuss steps to implement the ceasefire, including the opening of a main coastal road to allow passage of civilians.

Military talks are being held in parallel with economic and political talks. All three take place under the auspices of an international conference held in the German capital, Berlin, in January, Williams said.

Delegates to economic negotiations have made progress on proposals for managing Libya’s oil wealth, she added.

Six days of direct talks held in Tunisia were adjourned Sunday evening, during which rival delegates agreed to hold national elections on December 24, 2021.

Political discussions are due to resume online in a week and will focus on mechanisms to form a new government that will oversee the polls.

Williams said “no name … was discussed” during the talks in Tunis, adding that “10 years of conflict cannot be resolved in a week”.

“There must be more technocratic skills in government. They have to understand that they are only there for a short time, ”she said at the end of the meetings.

It was also decided that women would make up at least 30% of the next cabinet, she added.



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