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Haftar Denies Shutting Libya’s Oil Fields, Bashagha Vows to Assume Office in Tripoli

Haftar Denies Shutting Libya’s Oil Fields, Bashagha Vows to Assume Office in Tripoli

Monday, 11 April, 2022 - 07:00
Fathi Bashagha, designated as prime minister by the parliament, delivers a speech at Mitiga International Airport, in Tripoli, Libya February 10, 2022. Picture taken February 10, 2022. (Reuters)

Libya’s Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha’s government will assume office in the capital Tripoli by peaceful means “soon,” it announced on Sunday.

The government vowed in a statement to end “manifestations of security chaos and corruption entrenched by the outlaw junta.”

It called for self-restraint and urged the interim unity government, headed by Abdulhamid al-Dbeibeh, to avoid military and political escalation.

The government further said it is keen to preserve the 5+5 Joint Military Committee (JMC).

It accused Dbeibeh’s government of wasting oil revenues, provoking the closure of oil fields and the blocking of roads, and inciting violence.

“The Libyans' resources and wealth are in the hands of an outlaw gang that seized power and is exploiting it for personal interests,” the statement read.

It underscored the importance of supporting the National Oil Corporation, the Central Bank of Libya and the Libyan Investment Authority and keeping them away from the political dispute.

Under-secretary of the Ministry of Interior in Bashagha’s eastern-based government, Faraj Egaim, said the ministry is ready to deal with whoever obeys Dbeibeh’s orders, deeming his decisions as null and void.

Meanwhile, Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) denied reports about the gradual closure of the country’s oil fields, ports and gas pipelines.

This came a few hours after the eastern Libyan members of the 5+5 military council called on Haftar to close the road linking eastern and western Libya, shut off oil exports and halt all cooperation with the Tripoli-based government.

The LNA’s military spokesman, Ahmad al-Mismari dismissed the reports as "baseless".

The LNA had previously escalated by announcing the withdrawal of its representatives in 5+5 JMC.

The commission includes representatives of the LNA and the unity government's forces.

In an attempt to pressure Dbeibeh’s government, military commanders in eastern Libya said on Saturday they had suspended participation in the UN-backed joint military council, accusing the Tripoli-based government of failing to hand power to the new cabinet.

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