Governor of Libya’s Central Bank calls on international community to help end Haftar’s oil blockade

Governor of Libyan Central Bank Al-Sadiq Al-Kabir. [Photo: Social Media]
The Governor of Libya’s Central Bank Al-Sadiq Al-Kabir called on the international community to help end a weeklong shutdown of oil ports by Khalifa Haftar, likening the closures to a “bullet in the head.”

In an interview with US-based Bloomberg on Monday, Al-Kabir said it is too early to assess the damage from the blockade that’s halted crude exports from the country and forced the National Oil Corporation to declare a force majeure on supplies.

“The shutdown comes after a year of economic growth and reforms in the war-torn country, which sits atop Africa’s largest oil reserves,” he said.

Haftar crippled oil production and closed ports last weekend while haggling over a truce with the national government. The closure of oil ports resulted in output declining to 320,000 barrels a day from 1.2 million, and in losses totalling $256 million as of January 18, Libyan National Oil Corporation said.

One of Haftar’s main demands has been the removal of Al-Kabir and a fairer distribution of oil revenues to support the historically marginalised eastern part of the country.

Al-Kabir denied to Bloomberg that there is spending disparity. “The fair distribution is there,” he said, adding that the bank issues regular reports on its finances.

“Oil accounted for 93% of state revenues and 70% of spending, with a large portion going to public salaries,” Al-Kabir said.

Al-Kabir said he would be willing to step down if legal conditions in a 2015 United Nations political deal were met.

“We hope that there will be support from the international community to resume the production and export of oil, in a quicker way,” Al-Kabir added.

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