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US, Italy Condemn Attack on Libya’s Oil Region

US, Italy Condemn Attack on Libya’s Oil Region

Sunday, 17 June, 2018 - 06:45
Smoke rises from a petroleum storage tank at Libya's Sidra oil terminal near Ras Lanuf. (AFP file photo)
Cairo - Khaled Mahmoud
The United States and Italy condemned on Saturday the attack on Libya’s oil facilities in the east of the country.

Libya's National Oil Company (NOC) confirmed that Harouge Oil Operations storage facility number 12 in Ras Lanuf was severely damaged in an armed attack.

NOC blamed Ibrahim al-Jadhran, leader of a group opposed to Libyan National Army commander Khlifa Haftar, for the attack.

Fighters on Thursday attacked two oil terminals at Ras Lanuf and al-Sidra held by Haftar's group, inflicting fresh disruption on an industry that forms the chaos-hit country's economic backbone.

Jadhran has kept a low profile since 2016, but appeared in a video on social media on Thursday, saying he had formed a coalition to take over the oil sites.

NOC called on Jadhran’s militias to immediately withdraw from the area to avert an environmental disaster and the destruction of infrastructure that will have a massive impact of Libya’s oil sector and economy.

It urged all warring sides against exploiting the oil sector and national oil company in their “political game.”

These facilities belong to the Libyan people and represent their future, stressed NOC.

The LNA, meanwhile, announced that at least 20 militants were killed in the battles in the east, while acknowledging the loss of 14 of its soldiers.

The US condemned in the strongest of terms the attacks on Ras Lanuf and al-Sidra, demanding an end to the unrest, which harms the environment and vital national infrastructure.

The US embassy in Libya stressed that oil facilities, production and revenue belong to the Libyan people and they should remain under NOC’s exclusive control according to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2259 and 2278.

Italian Ambassador to Libya Giuseppe Perrone described the attack on oil facilities as an “unwelcome negative step that will escalate the conflict and jeopardize precious resources that are owned by the people.”

“The ongoing violence and mismanagement in eastern Libya will only deepen the crisis that requires dialogue and reconciliation,” he stressed.

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