By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 2 April 2014:
The self-declared “Cyrenaican government” is claiming that a provisional deal has been . . .[restrict]reached with the government in Tripoli that would allow “most” of the blockaded eastern oil ports to be reopened.
According to Ali Al-Hassi, the spokesman for Ibrahim Jadhran and the Cyrenaicans, the government delegation led by Deputy Finance Minister Muraja Ghaith broadly accepted their demands during negotiations today in Brega. Both sides, he said, had shown “good intentions” in the talks. The government team had then left on a private plane back to Tripoli to report the discussions to the Prime Minister and a reply was expected within 48 hours. “Maybe tomorrow”, said Hassi.
He also denied reports that there had been a specific deal to reopen Zueitina terminal in the morning. Everything would depend on the government. “A big part of the oil ports would be reopened if the government accepts our demands,” he told the Libya Herald. Asked which ports, he replied cryptically “most”.
The Cyrenaican demands, he explained, were the formation of a committee to oversee the loading of oil in future with counting devices in operation; a committee to investigate past oil loadings; a distribution of oil revenues on a federal basis – to Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan as per the 1951 constitution; international organisations to inspect what is happening in Libyan prisons; and the return home of displaced persons.
The first two are known to pose no problem for the government, and the last is not expected to raise objections other than in Misrata. Nor probably is the inspection of prisons. The sticking point has been dividing the oil revenue.
Hassi’s statement that “most” ports could reopen appears to indicate that Jadhran and the Cyrenaica federalists intend to keep one closed to pressurise the government into conceding further demands, among them possibly that Jadhran should be put in charge of the Petroleum Facilities Guards.
Any decision to do a deal with Jadhran, let alone concede his demand for splitting oil revenue on a federal basis is likely to meet with stiff opposition.
“It is not possible for the government to sign a deal with Jadhran”, a senior official at the Ministry of Defence told this newspaper today. “He is a wanted person” who had to be arrested, he said. [/restrict]