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Berlin hosts a peace conference for Libya in full uncertainty about oil control

Marshal Haftar takes another blow at the meeting hours by taking over 60% of Libyan crude

MADRID, Jan. 19 (EUROPE PRESS) –

Berlin hosts on Sunday a peace conference for Libya shaken in the last hours by a new incident that multiplies the already complex situation in which a country without direction has lived for nine years, with two governments faced and a dozen of countries involved, each with their own interests: the seizure of several oil ports in the east of the country by Marshal Jalifa Haftar, who now controls 60 percent of Libyan crude.

The commander of the Libyan National Army, lord of war, is the armed arm of the Tobruk Parliament, the parallel government facing the authorities of the capital, Tripoli, which recognizes the international community. Right now, Haftar has been besieging the city since last April, has conquered the city of Sirte and is preparing to carry out an assault on Misrata, where the bulk of Tripoli's forces are.

Berlin hosts a peace conference for Libya in full uncertainty about oil control
Berlin hosts a peace conference for Libya in full uncertainty about oil control

Haftar has achieved these advances thanks to the alleged help of Russian mercenaries – the Kremlin denies any presence in the country – while Tripoli has in its favor a security agreement signed with Turkey, very helpful for Ankara. The internationalization of the conflict is not new, and Turkey and Russia do not really have a desire to confront third parties, but participate in spite of it in an intensification of an international conflict, as was already the case in Syria.

Around, they observe countries such as Egypt or the Emirates, allies of Haftar, and a European Union waiting for France and Germany to take action on the matter or decide to leave a solution in the hands of the Russian-Turkish duo, according to experts from the panel of international studies International Crisis Group (ICG).

After all, both countries drew at the same time the master lines of a possible ceasefire, and that will be repeated in the final agreement, if any, of Sunday's conference.

IN SUSPENSE

What happens this weekend is the result of an ungoverned country since the death of the satrap Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 during the Arab revolution. Since then, and in the eyes of the outside, Libya has become a purely strategic interest for its energy potential and its ability to “plug state” in the face of the wave of migration – at the expense of flagrant violations of Human Rights, as denounced by many of NGOs -.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been especially critical of the European authorities, which he has accused of completely disregarding the situation.

“Libya has been dealing with a bloody civil war for almost a decade. However, so far, the international community has not fulfilled its responsibility to end the violence and restore peace and stability. Today, we are witnessing the consequences of this apathy, “Erdogan has ruled in an opinion column on the US website 'Politico'.

The head of the Tripoli Government, Fayez Serraj, has been favorable to deploy an international protection force in Libya if Haftar continues the offensive towards Tripoli. “The international community must take action, even with an international force to protect the Libyan civilian population,” said the UN-recognized prime minister.

Serraj has agreed with Erdogan that the role of the European Union in Libya “has been very modest so far, unfortunately.” “We expected the EU to strongly oppose the Haftar offensive and help put an end to the current crisis in Libya,” said the prime minister.

This European will must be specified in the possible agreement at the end of the summit, based on a first version of Ankara and Moscow and asking both parties to comply with aspects such as the “creation of a battle contact line to ensure a high sustainable fire “, designate five representatives each for a ceasefire commission, and the opening of political negotiations under the auspices of the UN. These points are part of the backbone of the road map that will be discussed in Berlin.

If all goes well, the countries attending the summit – including the United States, the European Union, Turkey, Egypt or the Arab League – will sign a declaration of 55 points beginning with the support for a cessation of hostilities, a plan of political development and the commitment to maintain the arms embargo imposed by the UN.

OVERWHELMING FORCE

This Saturday, the National Petroleum Company (NOC) of Libya has declared a state of force majeure after denouncing that Haftar forces have blocked oil exports in five ports in the region and exposed the entire country to the loss of 60 percent of daily crude production.

“The NOC declares force majeure after the Libyan National Army blocked oil exports from the ports of Brega, Ras Lanuf, Hariga, Zueitina and Sidra,” the company said in its Facebook account.

“This closure will result in a loss of 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day in production and approximate daily costs of 55 million dollars,” according to the statement.

Previously it has been announced that groups of supporters of Marshal Haftar had cut off the entrance to the port of Tobruk in a force show less than 24 hours from the start of the Berlin peace conference, after tribal leaders in the region They announced their intention to close access and deposits in the region by understanding that the benefits, in fact, were being taken by the Tripoli authorities, the Government recognized by the international community.

The NOC is an organization that, in principle, falls under the control of the Government of Tripoli, but for some time this party has led to quarrels with the authorities for lack of funds for the financing of its production operations, another example of the crisis endemic that defines the current policy in Libya.

“The oil and gas sector is the vital element of the Libyan economy and the only source of income for the Libyan people. Oil and oil facilities belong to the Libyan people. They are not cards to play to resolve political issues,” there were lamented this Friday the president of the company, Mustafa Sanalla, in statements to the same media.

“If the closing is prolonged, we face the collapse of the exchange rate, a huge and unsustainable increase in the national deficit, the departure of foreign contractors and the loss of future production that can take years to restore,” he said.

This is the situation in which a conference begins tomorrow where there is not even a consensus among the European powers themselves – France does not fear Haftar because it considers it important, according to ICG, to respect the importance of the marshal in the face of negotiations, in the face of skepticism from Germany or the United Kingdom – when it comes to resolving a conflict in a virtually lawless place in immigrant detention centers, with a siege to the capital that has left more than 2,000 dead, a critical humanitarian situation and jihadist organizations knocking on the door again.

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