Libya:Cyrenaica independentists do not recognize new premier

Deal reached by previous gov't to reopen oil terminals at risk

08 May, 14:59

    (ANSAmed) - TRIPOLI, MAY 8 - Indipendentists in Libya's eastern oil-rich region will not negotiate with new Premier Ahmed Mitig to reopen two major oil terminals at Sidra and Ras Lanuf, which they occupied in July last year, the self-declared head of the Political Bureau of Cyrenaica, Abd-Rabbo al-Barassi, said Thursday in a TV interview.

    The Bureau accuses Islamists in parliament of not respecting accords made by the government of former premier Abdullah al-Thani, who resigned in April after an attempted attack on his family.

    After protracted negotiations, the ex premier had obtained the reopening of the smaller Zueitina and Hariga oil terminals in exchange for a series of conditions.

    Among these are the setting up of a commission of inquiry into alleged graft in oil sales, transferring oil-field security headquarters to the eastern town of Brega, payment of back wages owed to oil terminal security guards, withdrawal of an order to intervene militarily to seize the ports, and granting the blockaders immunity from prosecution.

    The Bureau had agreed to reopen the larger Sidra and Ras Lanuf terminals, pending the government's holding up its end of the bargain.

    The government has so far honored just the first condition.

    The Bureau said it will not engage in talks with Mitig, a Misrata entrepreneur, whom it says was illegally named premier on May 4 in an chaotic parliament vote, which some MPs charged had not reached the necessary 120 votes.

    The Bureau was formed by former revolutionary Ibrahim Jadran, who was on the front lines of the uprising that ousted ex dictator Muammar Ghaddafi.

    After the 2011 revolution, Jadran became the head of security for a number of oil facilities. In late July, he lead the protests that blocked the country's largest ports, accusing the government of graft in oil sales and of marginalizing the eastern part of the country.

    The port blockade and the resulting halt to production and exports in the east proved crippling for the Libyan economy, leading to over 10 billion euros in losses in a country that depends primarily on oil. Output fell to 250,000 barrels per day, compared with 1.6 million during the Ghaddafi period.

    (ANSAmed).

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