Conditions for re-opening of Libya oil terminals awaited


The UN expects eastern Libyan tribal leaders to submit conditions to re-open blocked oil terminals, envoy Ghassan Salame said, pressing for a resumption of oil exports.

Salame told reporters in Geneva indirect UN-led talks between five officers from the Libyan National Army and five from forces aligned with the internationally recognised government in Tripoli made progress.

The talks aim at turning a shaky truce into a permanent ceasefire. The two sides are fighting for the capital.

“We have a significant number of points of convergence,” Salame said, without giving specifics.

Fighting continued despite a call for a truce by Russia and Turkey starting on January 12 and the international summit on Libya in Berlin on January 19 aimed at reducing international interference.

Libya’s oil production dropped sharply after groups loyal to eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar began a blockade on January 18, closing ports and fields in the east and south.

Salame told reporters he spoke to tribal leaders behind the closure and asked them to specify their demands.

“I repeated my call that this is not a healthy situation where all Libyans are not helped by the stoppage of exports,” he said. “The UN Libya mission wants oil to flow as soon as possible.”

Libya’s oil production dropped to 204 000 barrels per day (bpd) by Monday due to the blockade, a source from the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said.

The NOC says output will fall to 72 000 bpd if the stoppage continues, from about 1,2 million bpd previously.

Haftar has material support from countries including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, and Russia, UN experts and diplomats say, while the GNA is backed militarily by Turkey.

Haftar’s offensive, which upended a previous UN peace plan, deepened the gulf between loose alliances competing for power from western and eastern Libya since 2014.