Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

2 April 2014

Libya: Rebels End Oil Terminal Blockade in Libya

Photo: Kate Thomas
Passengers wait to disembark at Lampedusa port (file photo).

This followed talks with the government and the release of some of their fighters.

The leader of a rebel group in eastern Libya yesterday, April 2, 2014, agreed to end its seizure of several oil-exporting ports after negotiations with the government ended an eight-month stalemate, Al Jazeera TV reported.

Ibrahim Jathran told a rebel television channel that his group reached a solution in the interest of "all honourable Libyans" and the people of Cyrenaica, the eastern region's historic name. "The oil port issue will be solved within days. We agreed on all issues with the government in Tripoli," assured Abb-Rabbo al-Barassi, the self-declared Prime Minister of the rebel group. A government delegation is expected to visit the group's home base of Ajdabiya in eastern Libya within two days to hammer out the details, al-Barassi explained.

Agency reports said there was however no immediate comment from the Tripoli government which has been trying since last summer to end the blockade of three eastern ports that previously accounted for over 600,000 barrels a day of oil exports. Talks with the eastern rebels moved faster after the US Navy last month captured a tanker that loaded oil at a rebel port, killing the hopes of rebel leaders to sell crude by bypassing Tripoli.

Meanwhile, the government earlier met a rebel demand by releasing three of its fighters who boarded the 'Morning Glory' rogue tanker at Es Sider, one of the three ports seized by the group in August 2013 to demand regional autonomy and a greater share of oil wealth. In contrast to the east, protesters at western oil facilities such as the closed El Sharara field are divided into in small groups with different demands and lack joint leadership.

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