End in sight for the Libyan Oil Crisis?


Positive talks between the Libyan central government and militia in control of a series of ports along Libya’s eastern coast suggest an end is in sight for the Libyan oil crisis.

According to a Reuter’s source, an agreement to end the rebel group’s seizure of the key facilities could happen within a few days.

The news comes shortly after a rogue vessel carrying siphoned-fuel from the militia occupied port of Es-Sider, was captured by Navy SEALs.

The Morning Glory and its cargo have since been returned to the Libyan central government.

As a sign of good faith, the government decided to release the three rebel members on board the vessel, who received a hero’s welcome upon landing at Benghazi airport, in rebel controlled territory.

Government officials decided against any military action, which appears to have further paved the way to initiate talks between the two parties.

Self-appointed rebel prime minister, Abb-Rabbo al-Barassi confirmed the talks were now ongoing speaking to Reuters and saying “the oil port issue will be solved within days. We agreed on all issues with the government in Tripoli.”

Ibrahim Jathran, who heads the group, appeared on rebel-controlled television earlier this week stating that both groups had reached a solution that would benefit not only the people of Cyrenaica but “all honourable Libyans.”

The protests began soon after the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, when factions sought more autonomy and a return to the King Idris form of governance. Cyrenaica, the historical name of eastern Libya acts harks back to this era, where oil revenues were equally shared throughout the nation.

However in his latest speech, Jathran not only focused on a striving for independence, and the fight against corruption, but also addressed “all Libyans” and discussed the need for stability nation-wide.

The news comes not at all too soon for a nation crippled by losses in oil production.

Libyan oil trade accounts to about 95 percent of total state income, but protests have suffocated any hope for economic stability. Exports have dropped from 1.4 million barrels per day to 200,000.

Whilst the news of talks with Ibrahim and his men bode hopeful for the central government, it does nothing to deal with the maelstrom of political rebels out of the militia’s control.

Several other fields and depots have been seized across the west, by protestors outside of Jathram’s control.

With no definitive army, the Libyan government is in no position to take on the battle-hardened fighters that occupy docks nationwide. Indeed, it appears that US military intervention appears to be one of the sole reasons that talks have begun between Ibrahim and his men.

Whilst the news comes as a large step towards stability in the Libyan nation, there are still many more to go.

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