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Libyan militants occupying oil terminals refuse to acknowledge new prime minister

 

An agreement reached with Libyan rebels in control of oil terminals in eastern Libya is being challenged by the continued political instability in the country.

The rebels said on Wednesday that they refuse to deal with Libya’s newly appointed Prime Minister Ahmad Mitig, because they do not acknowledge him as the legitimate prime minister. Mitig was elected in a chaotic parliamentary session on Sunday; however, Libya’s acting parliamentary leader has since declared the vote illegal.

Former Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni has agreed to step back in as caretaker prime minister until the political crisis settles.

Al-Thinni had reached an agreement with militants to reopen the eastern oil terminals. So far, only the Hariga and Zueitina facilities have been handed over to government forces.

The two sides agreed to hold more talks over the opening of Ras Lanuf and Es Sider, two of Libya’s larger export terminals.

A spokesperson for the militants said that Mitig came to power in an illegal way.

The new prime minister had sworn the legal oath on Sunday after a chaotic election was held in parliament, where many members disputed his appointment after he failed to win the necessary majority of votes.

Libya has been witnessing frequent periods of political chaos ever since Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown with the help of NATO forces in 2011. The government and the army are struggling to extend their control across a country awash in arms and rival militias.

The seizure of the oil fields and export terminals by militants has resulted in the decline of oil production in Libya from 1.4 million barrels per day last summer to about 250,000 barrels per day at present.

 

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