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Chairman of Libya’s NOC slams foreign countries for hindering lifting of oil blockade

The Chairman of Libya’s state oil company (National Oil Corporation) Mustafa Sanalla has blamed foreign powers backing warlord Khalifa Haftar for hindering talks intended to enable Libya to end a six-month oil blockade and resume crude exports.

Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of the NOC, told the Financial Times on Sunday that some regional countries are complicating the negotiations while enjoying the absence of Libyan oil from the market.

Sanalla declined to name the countries to the Financial Times, but according to the newspaper, he appeared to be referring to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, both supporters of warlord Haftar.

“It’s very clear who is controlling Libya now. It is from outside and this decision about oil is about who is controlling Libya, not the Libyan side.” Sanalla added.

He indicated that Libya has now a disaster due technical problems everywhere in the oil sector, in addition to the collapse of oil tanks.
“On Saturday, we had a big leak in an offshore exploration line. We can’t tell the size of the disaster until our staff can make a full inspection.” He remarked.

According to Sanalla’s words, reported by the Financial Times, his initiative says the Libyan parties and their foreign backers would agree that oil revenue would be frozen for a set period in the NOC’s account rather than transferred to the Libyan central bank.

“The bank has faced mounting criticisms from all factions over a lack of transparency, concerns about corruption and the inequitable use of petrodollars.” He explained.

Sanalla also said that the US and the UN would then oversee negotiations between the rival Libyan groups and their foreign backers to negotiate a “very transparent financial arrangement including how the money is spent,” as well as reforming the more than 20,000-strong Petroleum Facilities Guard, which is made up of militiamen and tribal fighters.

Sanalla’s initiative talks are being overseen by the US and the UN, and involve the UN-backed government, Haftar’s representatives, France — which has been a supporter of the warlord — the UAE and Egypt, which also backs Haftar.

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