By Muttaz Ali and Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 7 April 2014:
The oil port deal struck between members of the government, the General National Congress . . .[restrict](GNC) and the self-declared ‘Cyrenaica government” does appear to be genuine, despite a deafening silence from the government on the subject.
There was confusion today, after last night’s reports about the handing over of two blockaded eastern oil export terminals, Zueitina and Hariga (Tobruk). Justice Minister Salah Al-Marghani was expected to give details of the deal in a joint press conference with self-styled federalist leader Ibrahim Jadhran and members of the “Cyrenaica Government”.
However, Marghani was not present at this press conference and only Jadhran and the head of the “Cyrenaica government” Abdraba Abdulhamid Al-Barasi, spoke.
“After we signed the agreement, it was planed that we would make a joint press conference in Zueitina but, because of problems at Benina airport, this did not happen,” spokesman for the ‘Cyrenaica government’, Ali Al-Hasi, told the Libya Herald.
“The Cyrenaica government has informed the National Oil Company (NOC) it can immediately start using the oil ports,” he said, adding that the ports had been kept in good condition and were ready to get back up and running.
Today, no official comment or announcement materialised from the government, which had previously denied being involved in negotiations with the federalists blocking the ports. The Ministry of Justice did, however, publish a copy of the agreement to open the two ports on its official website today, although with no additional comment.
This statement was signed by Jadhran, Barasi and a member of the GNC, Sherief El-Waffi.
“The GNC is not formally involved in this issue at all, but we have some members making efforts to solve this problem,” Congressman Ahmed Langhi said today. “They were representing themselves and the interests of people in the districts they represent.”
He added that the GNC would be discussing the deal and the ongoing situation with two terminals which remain closed, Ras Lanuf and Sidra, in tomorrow’s sitting. Langhi said he was unable to give further details.
Meanwhile, the situation at the actual ports concerned remains much the same.
“I also heard the media reports that the ports would be reopening but I have received no formal letter or instruction,” Hariga Port Manager Rasab Abdul Razoul said. He added, however, that he was optimistic that over the course of the next few days operations at the port would be restarted. [/restrict]