Ambassadors appeal for calm after bloody Libya clashes

Ambassadors appeal for calm after bloody Libya clashes
2 min read
08 March, 2017
French, British and American envoys call for Libya's warring factions to end hostilities and to send oil revenues to the the country's Tripoli-based government.
The loss of the oil terminals represent a major blow to General Haftar Khalifa [AFP]
Western ambassadors have called for calm in Libya following bloody clashes between rival factions over lucrative oil terminals.

The envoys from the US, UK and France urged Libya's warring parties to recognise the authority of the Libyan National Oil Corporation and said that revenues must be channelled to the UN-backed Government of National Accord [GNA] in Tripoli.

Clashes broke out on Friday, when the Islamist-led Benghazi Defence Brigade seized oil export terminals at Sidra and Ras Lanuf.

The terminals were held by the Libyan National Army, a military force headed by General Haftar Khalifa – a Gaddafi-era military strongman whose forces dominate eastern Libya.

Haftars forces are allied to the Tobruk-based House of Representatives and do not recognise the authority of the GNA.

The LNA seized control of key oilfields and terminals in September, restoring a level of calm that allowed Libya's oil crescent to increase production by 500,000 barrels per day [bpd].

Due to fighting between factions, the oil terminals had been closed for two years prior to the Haftar takeover.

Mustafa Sharksi, leader of the BDB, told reporters in Misrata that he intended to "to rescue Benghazi from Haftar and return displaced families to their homes".

He added that his militia would not push on to Benghazi until the NOC sends another force to take the oil ports.

Last week's eruption of violence has harmed the prestige of Haftar, whose rise to prominence has gone largely unchallenged.