By Jamal Adel.
Tripoli, 1 January 2014:
Protestors who have forced the closure of the Sharara oilfield west of Obari since October have . . .[restrict]agreed to suspend their action for a fortnight following fresh talks with the Defence Minister, Abdullah Al-Thinni.
According to a member of the committee that has been running the protest for the past two months, Mahmoud Al-Ansari, Al-Thinni met the demonstration committee in Obari and promised to do everything possible to meet protestors’ demands.
Just over a week ago, Al-Ansari told the Libya Herald that the main demand was the removal of Obari’s unelected, old council. There were a number of Tuareg protestors, he admitted, who were demanding to be given Libyan National Identity Numbers, but this was not the main issue.
Today, Al-Ansari said that although the blockade would be lifted, the protestors would remain nearby and would be back again with extra demands if Thinni’s promises proved “unreliable”.
Last month, Al-Thinni, managed to bring an end to the blockade of the Sarir power station in eastern Libya through negotiations with the Tebu protestors who were barricading the road to it.
The Sharara field, 60 kilometres west of Obari, has a capacity of 350,000 b/d. It is run by Akakus Oil, a joint venture between Spain’s Repsol and the National Oil Corporation, and the oil is piped to the oil terminal at Zawia.
Although the issue of IDs is said not to be the main cause for action, it is known to be important. The decision agreed earlier last month but only unveiled this past week to set up a committee to look into the position of people who have not yet been granted a national ID number is thought to have helped end the blockade.