UNSMIL alarmed by continued attempts by east to divide NOC
By Sami Zaptia.
London, 7 October 2019:
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) expressed its alarm on Friday at what it called the continued attempts by internationally unrecognized parallel authorities (the eastern-based Libyan Interim Government) to divide Libya’s state National Oil Corporation (NOC).
UNSMIL said that it was ‘‘alarmed by indications that parallel, unrecognized authorities in Libya are threatening the operation and management of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) and its subsidiary Brega’’.
It reiterated that ‘‘the Tripoli-based NOC, is the sole sovereign institution that under international and national law is charged with the stewardship of the country’s oil, including the export and import of oil and fuel’’.
UNSMIL further warned that ‘‘continued efforts to divide the NOC’s functions threaten the country’s oil revenue and consequently the interests of all Libyans. These efforts could constitute violations of UN Security Council Resolutions and could place responsible individuals under sanctions.
UNSMIL said that it would ‘‘report suspected violations to the UN Panel of Experts, the UN Sanctions Committee and the UN Security Council. Libya’s oil and natural resources belong to the Libyan people and should not, under any circumstances, be weaponized’’, the statement concluded.
On Saturday, the NOC welcomed UNSMIL’s statement. It expressed its ‘‘support for the statement issued by the united nations mission to Libya on Friday, 4 October 2109, and welcomes the international community’s emphasis on the exclusive right to import and export crude oil and its products. . This initiative is an important step in the effort to divide the country.
The National Oil Corporation also emphasizes that Libyan oil and natural resources belong to all the Libyan people and must in no case be used military. The use of Libyan oil and oil facilities for military purposes is a gross violation of international humanitarian law and amounts to war crimes’’.
It will be recalled the NOC had condemned on 19 September the formation of a parallel board of directors by the eastern branch of its Brega Petroleum Marketing Company.
It had said that it was an attempt to divide Brega Company and warned that it puts Libya at risk of partition.
The eastern Brega branch, on the other hand, had cited the curtailment of fuel supplies by Tripoli to the east for the breakaway. The NOC continues to deny any curtailment of fuel supplies and has taken the step of publishing regular figures of the quantities supplied. According to these figures consumption in the east has risen markedly.
The NOC stressed that the unity and sole legitimacy of the NOC and its subsidiaries is enshrined in Libyan law and protected by UN Security Council resolutions.
NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said that the “NOC rejects any attempts to partition and politicize Libya’s oil sector to serve narrow interests and foreign agendas. Fuel supply to the Eastern and Central regions is more than adequate for civilian purposes. The real motive behind this attempt is to set up a new illegitimate entity for the illegal export of oil from Libya’’.
Sanalla had stressed that ‘‘if NOC loses its oil export monopoly, the future integrity of Libya is at grave risk. It is disappointing that the people behind this attempt to divide the nation put their personal ambitions ahead of the unity and integrity of the country.
NOC is exploring all legal and diplomatic measures, and puts all companies operating on the oil market on notice that any attempt to deal or sign contracts with this false company is a clear violation of Security Council resolutions. NOC will pursue all legal avenues available to secure Libya’s unity.”
The NOC said that it also rejects attempts to misinform the public about fuel supply to the Eastern and Central regions and to portray the Corporation as taking sides in the conflict in Libya.
It said that aviation fuel supplies to the Eastern and Central regions in the first three months of 2019 were 21% higher relative to 2018; and 52% higher from April to August.
In August, aviation fuel supplies were reduced because of the availability of sufficient and adequate reserves at the region warehouses, which reached their full storage capacity.
It said that the person appointed by the Interim Government as chairman of the parallel board of directors of BPMC is a former BPMC board member whose administrative and financial violations triggered an internal NOC investigation, and a committee was formed on March 25, 2019 to investigate him. BPMC’s General Assembly suspended the employee in question from his post and referred him to the Public Prosecutor’s office for criminal investigation into the charges against him.