East Libyan autonomy leader says will not reopen seized oil ports
Libya remains in turmoil as the government struggles to rein in militias that helped topple Muammar Qaddafi in 2011
The leader of an autonomy movement in eastern Libya said on Sunday he will not order his militia troops to end the blockade of several oil-exporting ports.
“We will not reopen the ports,” Ibrahim Jathran told reporters, adding talks with the Tripoli government to restart oil exports from the eastern terminals had failed.
His group has seized the Ras Lanuf, es-Sider and Zueitina ports for months to demand a greater share of the country’s oil wealth and investigate claims of oil corruption.
Workers at several other oilfields are on strike, drying up the majority of Libya’s oil exports, its main source of revenue.
There was no immediate comment from Tripoli. Officials have previously refused to recognize the self-declared eastern government and warned that the central government would attack any tanker trying to load oil at seized ports.
Libya remains in turmoil as the government struggles to rein in militias that helped topple Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 and now control parts of the North African country.
A mix of militias, tribesmen and officials have seized oilfields and export terminals across the country, bringing exports down to 110,000 bpd from more than one million in July.
Libya needs dollars to fund imports of wheat and other basic foodstuffs, and the government has warned it will not be able to pay public sector workers if oil strikes continue.