US urges Libya's General Haftar to vacate oil terminals

US urges Libya's General Haftar to vacate oil terminals
Following the seizure of three Libyan oil terminals by militias loyal to General Khalifa Haftar, the US and five leading European countries have urged him to give up the ports.
2 min read
13 September, 2016
Pro-Haftar forces have been asked to evacuate three oil terminals seized on Sunday [AFP]

Libyan renegade General Khalifa Haftar has been urged by the West to hand over three key oil terminals to the country's internationally-recognised government.

Haftar's forces seized the three ports during a surprise offensive this week.

The US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain issued a statement on Monday urging the militia chief allied to a rival eastern authority to hand over the terminals to the Tripoli government.

"[Tripoli is the] sole steward of these resources," the statement read. "Libya's oil belongs to the Libyan people."

Ras Lanuf, al-Sidra and Zueitina were seized by pro-Haftar forces on Sunday from forces allied to the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord in the capital.

Pro-Tripoli troops were said to be exhausted from the ongoing offensive against the Islamic State group in the coastal city of Sirte.

Hafter is allied to Libya's rival parliament in Tobruk, and has not approved the UN-backed unity government.

The oil-rich North African country slid into chaos after the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Oil is key to the Libyan economy, but fighting and IS attacks have forced production into steep decline.

Recent victories against IS had spelled hope that the oil would flow again, giving the Tripoli government critically needed finances to rebuild the war-torn state.

Agencies contributed to this story.