Authorities based in eastern Libya on Saturday threatened to blockade oil exports over the Tripoli government's use of energy revenue, accusing it of wasting billions of dollars without providing real services.
Libya has been locked in a political standoff since last year, when the parliament in eastern Libya rejected the interim Government of National Unity in Tripoli and designated a new administration that has been unable to take over in the capital.
The Government of National Stability, formed in March 2022, is led by Osama Hamada and supported by the House of Representatives and the Libyan National Army, but receives no international recognition.
“If necessary, the Libyan government will raise the red flag and prevent the flow of oil and gas and stop its export by turning to the judiciary and issuing an order declaring force majeure,” the government said.
“We might resort to the Libyan judiciary to appoint a judicial guard over reserved funds,” it added.
In a statement Saturday, the government also urged the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), to “exercise its effective role without bias, and to reveal the public funds unfairly wasted.”
“We hoped that the mission’s briefing to the UN institution on the general situation in Libya, includes facts, without concealing or ignoring what is happening daily in the country,” the statement noted.
The government also accused the National Oil Corporation (NOC) of enabling the “interim” unity government of Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, of illegally acquiring $16 billion.
Early this year, the Government of National Stability had announced the seizure of Libyan oil revenues for the year 2022 and beyond, which exceeds 130 billion dinars, to prevent corruption. But it clarified that the seizure measures will only affect salaries and public services.
Hamada had announced that his “stability” government would immediately appoint a judicial guard over these funds, to protect public money from systematic and continuous looting.
No official comment was issued by the Oil Corporation or the Dbeibeh government, while Parliament, which supports the parallel "stability" government, remained silent.
In July, Dbeibeh overthrew NOC director Mustafa Sanalla, who was appointed by the Undersecretary of the Oil Ministry of the former “National Salvation Government” of Fayez al-Sarraj in 2014.
Instead, he appointed Farhat Bengdara, as the newly chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aqila Saleh, held on Saturday a meeting in the city of al-Qubah with a delegation from the Bar Association to discuss the latest developments on the outputs of the 6+6 committee, jointly formed with the High Council of State to draft elections laws.
Separately, Italy’s news agency, Nova, said two patrol boats were delivered to Libya in a ceremony in the Sicilian city of Messina in the presence of European Commission officials, the Italian authorities, and the Tripoli-based coastguard.
The delivery is part of the EU executive project “Support to Integrated Border and Migration Management in Libya,” which “aims to strengthen the capacity of relevant Libyan authorities in the areas of border and migration management, including border control and surveillance in the Mediterranean Sea.