(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
France released a joint statement on behalf of the French government, Britain, Germany, the United States, Italy and Spain on Wednesday expressing support to the UN-backed unity government (GNA).
The western allies said they were concerned with the constant power struggle over Al-Zueitina oil port by rival militia groups and urged the militias not to strike at the oil port causing more damage. The worry is that more damages to the oil ports will delay any progress towards increasing Libya’s oil production and exports.
The allies stated that Libya’s oil facilities should be fully controlled by the GNA without any conditions made, and that rival groups need “to abstain from any act of hostility and avoid all actions that could damage or disrupt energy infrastructure.”
The GNA “must work with the National Oil Corporation (NOC) to relaunch oil production in order to rebuild Libya’s economy,” said the statement.
In July, Libya said it will be working towards getting its largest oil ports to start producing oil after they were closed for 18 months as a result of clashes among various militias vying to take control.
General Khalifa Haftar, who is a rival to the Libyan government, threatened to attack oil tankers in eastern Libya where the commander is based. However, the Libyan government decided to move forward with the reopening of the oil ports.
The six western powers called on the Libyan government to “find a peaceful solution to the disruptions affecting energy exports in Libya.” This statement comes after France admitted to have been working with the commander in eastern Libya and other reports claiming that US and British forces were also working with the commander.
Highlighting the importance of protecting the oil ports the statement said, “restarting oil exports is crucial for generating revenues needed to provide for the essential needs of the Libyan people, notably electricity, healthcare and infrastructure.”