Libya’s rival oil minister wants to attend OPEC meeting

The United Nations and world powers have not recognized rival Prime Minister Omar al-Hassi

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Libya’s rival government wants to send its oil minister to the OPEC summit in Vienna this week and will refuse to comply with any production decisions if it is denied access, the minister said.

Libya has two cabinets and parliaments vying for legitimacy since a rival group took control of Tripoli in August, installing its own prime minister and assembly and forcing out the recognized prime minister, Abdullah al-Thinni.


The United Nations and world powers have not recognized rival Prime Minister Omar al-Hassi, but his political alliance controls major ministries in Tripoli.

“We are the legitimate government. We want to present Libya at this meeting," he said in an interview late on Tuesday. “We
haven't yet received an invitation ... I've heard the other side got an invitation,” Mashallah Zwai, Hassi’s oil minister, said,
referring to Thinni’s cabinet.

The rival government’s plans to attend the OPEC summit may pose a test for the international community over choosing an
authority to deal with in the major oil producer, which is caught up in strife three years after the ousting of Muammar

Thinni is operating from the east, to where the elected parliament has also moved its base.

Libya will not comply with any decisions taken in Vienna if Zwai can not go with his delegation, which includes National Oil Corp (NOC) Chairman Mustafa Sanallah and its OPEC governor, the minister said, sitting in the NOC office that had been used by previous oil ministers.

“If the government of Libya gets represented by the non-legitimate government, then we will take legal action,” he said, adding that suspending Libya’s membership or not paying fees were options.

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