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Libya’s NOC confirms international talks on resuming oil output

Monday, 29 June 2020 | 23:00

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) is hopeful that oil production will resume after international talks to end a blockade by forces based in the east of the North African country, a spokesman said on Monday.

The internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli has recently regained control of most of the northwest after beating back a 14-month assault on the capital by the Libyan National Army (LNA) based in the east.

Though Libya has been divided since 2015 between the rival administrations, international agreements stipulate that only the NOC is allowed to produce and export oil and the blockade has cost Libya billions of dollars in revenue.

There have been negotiations in recent weeks between NOC, the GNA and regional countries, overseen by the United Nations and United States, an NOC spokesman said in a statement.

“We are hopeful that those regional countries will lift the blockade and allow us to resume our work,” the spokesman said.

Turkey supports the GNA while the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt back the LNA.

The blockade was imposed as increasing Turkish support for the GNA called into question the LNA’s ability to sustain its attack on Tripoli.

The GNA says the LNA is behind the blockade, which was announced in January by local groups including tribes. The LNA says the tribes imposed the blockade to seek a greater share of revenue.

Control over oil output and revenue is a major prize for both sides, as well as for the foreign backers who have played an ever bigger role in the war in recent months.

The division of revenue, paid into the Tripoli-based Central Bank of Libya and used to fund state institutions around the country and across the front lines, remains a source of contention.

“We need to resume work immediately to save our infrastructure and the Libyan economy,” the NOC statement said.

“NOC is determined that the agreement will guarantee transparency and that oil revenues will achieve social justice for all Libyans,” it said
Source: Reuters (Reporting By Angus McDowall; Editing by David Clarke)

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