El Sharara oilfield protesters say Libyan PM will meet their demands

A spokesman for the protesters, who are demanding salary payments and development funds, said on Wednesday the facility would be reopened when their demands are met. (Reuters)

Libya’s internationally recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj flew to the southern El Sharara oilfield on Wednesday to meet protesters who have shut down the facility, a government source and a protester said.

A spokesman for the protesters, who are demanding salary payments and development funds, said on Wednesday the facility would be reopened when their demands are met.

The spokesman, Mohammed Ahmed, added in remarks to Reuters that al-Sarraj told protesters that their urgent demands would be implemented within a week from next Saturday (Dec 22).

“El Sharara oilfield will be reopened after reaching an agreement with Fayez al-Sarraj,” Ahmed said. “Urgent (demands), like liquidity and fuel, will start (being implemented) on Saturday and will take a week, the other demands will be implemented within 45 days”, Ahmed said.

Libyan state oil firm NOC declined to comment on reopening the oilfield. Officials in the prime minister’s office could not be reached for comment.

Sarraj and tribesmen occupying the 315,000 barrel per day facility agreed to form a committee to look into the grievances, said Osama al-Wafi, one of the protesters.

He reiterated a demand to ask the United Nations to mediate in the conflict. The U.N. Libya mission (UNSMIL) had called last week on the protesters, some of which are armed, to leave the site located deep in the lawless south.

Ali al-Husseini, a commander in a group of state guards taking part in the protests, told a local television channel Sarraj needed to provide means for them to secure the field. He did not elaborate.

Pictures on social media showed Sarraj meeting some protesters.

In another apparent bid to appease the protesters, the Tripoli government approved a development fund worth 1 billion Libyan dinars ($717 million) for the long-neglected south, a decree said.

El Sharara crude is transported to the Zawiya port, which is also home to a refinery.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:54 - GMT 06:54
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