Rome, Jan 21 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s Premier Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday condemned the continued closure of virtually all of Libya’s oil facilities by eastern Libyan forces, warning that the blockade could imperil the war-torn country.
“We must not only stop the fighting (in Libya) but actions of this kind which can threaten energy supplies and stoke tensions just as much as military options,” Conte told reporters in Florence.
“I am confident that all countries will agree on this,” he added.
Almost all of Libya’s crude export capacity is now under force majeure – a waiver on contractual obligations – after pipeline blockades in the east and west of the country last week by forces loyal to eastern warlord Khalifa Haftar hindered oil production.
The lifeline of Libya’s economy, oil has long been a key factor in the civil war, as rival authorities in Tripoli and in the east fight for control of the country’s oil fields and state revenue.
Libya’s United Nations-backed Premier Fayez Al-Sarraj has said that Libya will face a catastrophe if Haftar continues his blockade of the oil fields.
Italy, Libya’s former colonial power, has extensive energy interests in the country.