Militias loyal to Libya’s UN-backed unity government headed by Fayez Sarraj are seeking to convince the cabinet to submit an international request to impose an air embargo on the oil crescent region in order to prevent the national army, led by Khalifa Haftar, from controlling it.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said: “The situation in Libya is worrying and has gotten worse.”
“Haftar’s offensive does not go in the right direction. There is a real risk of going backwards,” he told reporters in New York.
Ayrault said that seeking to seize oil facilities for political purposes would lead Libya nowhere and it was crucial that the country’s official National Oil Corporation (NOC) control fields under the auspices of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) of Sarraj.
Libya is highly dependent on oil export revenue and needs to revive production to prevent economic collapse.
“The production and commercialization of oil must be done in the framework of the NOC under government control, otherwise the risks of clashes in Libya are considerable,” Ayrault said.
On the other hand, Libya’s Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO) said on Tuesday its output had risen to 210,000 barrels per day (bpd) from between 145,000-160,000 bpd after production resumed at the Nafoura and Hamada fields.
“We will maintain production at this level and we are capable of increasing it, though we are suffering from a financial crisis at the moment,” AGOCO spokesman Omran al-Zwai told Reuters.
Meanwhile, Italy said two of its nationals have been abducted in Libya; media reports suggested a Canadian was also missing. Little is known about the location from where they were taken or their identities.
The Italian Foreign Ministry confirmed two Italians were kidnapped on Monday.
The two Italians were abducted at dawn on Monday in Ghat, a southern Libyan city, along with a Canadian citizen, according to Komani Mohamed Saleh, the mayor of the city of Ghat, as quoted on the Tuniscope Arabic website.
All three of the kidnapped worked for an Italian company that performed maintenance operations at Ghat airport, the website said.
By Khalid Mahmoud
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