By Libya Herald reporter.
Benghazi, 8 August 2016:
The chairman of the National Oil Corporation in Tripoli, Mustafa Sanalla has called on both the central region Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by General Khalifa Hafter to refrain from any military action that could damage the facilities at the oil terminal at Zueitina.
Sanalla was responding to rising tension there following the arrival of a 150-man-strong LNA unit some 10 kilometres east of Zueitina. Their arrival sparked rumours that their aim is to takeover the terminal, currently controlled by the PFG, headed by Ibrahim Jadhran, a firm adversary of Hafter.
“We ask both sides to respect the facilities at Zueitina,” said Sanalla. “They and the oil in storage there belong to the people of Libya, and can be used for the economic reconstruction of our country. A resumption of oil exports from Zueitina will benefit all Libyans. The PFG and the LNA have a responsibility in front of all the Libyan people to preserve the infrastructure there.”
Neither side should use the facilities as a defensive position, Sanalla added, calling on both sides to allow NOC staff safe passage to try and transport the oil already stored there elsewhere.
British Ambassador Peter Millett who met with Sanalla in Tripoli yesterday has endorsed his call to all sides to avoid conflict and not damage the oil installations.
US Special Envoy Jonathan Winer has also expressed concern about possible damage to the Zueitina facilities. “Big blow if facilities r damaged”, he tweeted, saying that he was watching the situation in Zueitina “with great concern” and that the various parties needed to engage in dialogue and to avoid steps “which risk [the] fragile oil sector & economy”.