By Sami Zaptia.
Lugano, 11 July 2018:
Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) has announced the lifting of force majeure in the ports of Ras Lanuf, Es Sider, Hariga and Zuetina after it reported that ‘‘the facilities were handed over to the corporation this morning’’. It said that oil production and export operations would return to ‘‘normal levels within the next few hours’’.
The NOC had announced force majeure on 2 July in response to Khalifa Hafter and his LNA handing over the oil facilities in the eastern oil crescent to the eastern-based NOC. This came o the back of the LNA recapturing the oil crescent after Ibrahim Jadran had captured them on 14 June.
The move had been widely condemned by the international community.
In its statement, the NOC said that its chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, and members of its board of directors ‘‘commended the Libyan National Army General Command for putting the national interest first’’. They also thanked ‘‘the Presidency Council, the House of Representatives, the Higher Council of State, and members of the international community for their efforts to resolve the crisis’’. The NOC statement quoted chairman Mustafa Sanalla saying, “We need a proper national debate on the fair distribution of oil revenues. It is at the heart of the recent crisis. The real solution is transparency, so I renew my call on the responsible authorities, the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank, to publish budgets and detailed public expenditure. Libyan citizens should be able to see how every dinar and fil of their oil wealth is spent. I will work with other national stakeholders to enhance transparency and resolve this crisis – for the benefit of all our citizens.”
The return of the oil crescent by Khalifa Hafter and the LNA to the Tripoli-based NOC comes on the back of concerted international pressure.
But domestically, it also comes on the back of Faiez Serraj, the head of the Presidency Council, issuing a statement today calling on the UN Security Council to form an international technical committee, on an urgent basis, under the auspices of the UN, with the assistance of specialized international, financial and economic organizations, to review all income, expenses and transactions of the Central Bank of Libya in Tripoli and in Beida.
This call by Serraj was aimed at satisfying Hafter in response to his accusation that the Tripoli CBL was financing terrorists, including Ibrahim Jadran.
The action is aimed at achieving ‘‘the principle of impartiality and transparency and to face a very serious situation’’, the Presidency Council statement said.
The Presidency Council added that this move was in the public interest, clarifying the reality of the financial situation for all and the expenditure of the previous period of any institution without exception. The move will contribute to the consolidation of the country’s financial and economic institutions on a sound basis, enhance confidence in the functioning of these institutions, improve the economy of the country and support stability, the statement concluded.
The Tripoli CBL has welcomed Serraj’s call for the formation of an audit committee.