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Western Powers Call for Libyan Unity, Condemn Latest Oil Ports Attacks

The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Spain condemned on Tuesday this weekend’s attack on oil export terminals in eastern Libya by armed forces affiliated with a parliament based in the east, which fights with the UN-recognized Presidency Council and Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the west.

The parliament-affiliated Libyan National Army (LNA)—led by General Khalifa Haftar—took control of the terminals Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, and Zueitina in the so-called Oil Crescent over the weekend, wrestling them from the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), which is affiliated with the GNA. Es Sider and Ras Lanuf alone account for 700,000 bpd in export capacity, almost half of what Libya used to export before it plunged into a civil war after Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.

According to OPEC figures from Monday, Libya’s oil production in August of this year was 292,000 barrels of oil per day, down from 313,000 bpd in July, and the lowest output level so far this year. Before 2011, Libya had a peak of pumping 1.6 million bpd.

In Tuesday’s joint statement, the six western nations called upon all parties to halt hostilities and avoid further actions that would additionally weaken or disrupt Libya’s oil exports. The U.S. and the five influential European countries reiterated that the Presidency Council is the “sole steward of these resources”.

Libya’s oil – including all infrastructure, production and export – “must remain under the exclusive control of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) acting under the GNA’s authority,” the western nations say, demanding that all military forces in the so-called oil crescent withdraw unconditionally and immediately.

Reaffirming their total support for GNA as the sole authority in Libya, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States called for peaceful cooperation and urged immediate start of efforts to unify all armed forces into one.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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