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Western powers hail Libyan oil deal

West praises Libyan deal to reopen eastern oil terminals.
By Daniel J. Graeber   |   April 8, 2014 at 9:17 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, April 8 (UPI) -- Western powers praised a deal ending blockades at eastern Libya oil export terminals, saying their closure had spoiled the nation's economy for nine months.

A joint statement by the French, German, Italian, British and U.S. governments praised Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni for brokering a deal to end blockades at Libyan ports.

They said in their statement Monday the blockade had "done so much damage to the Libyan economy and to the Libyan people over the last nine months."

The International Monetary Fund said the Libyan energy sector represents about $63 billion to the government, a majority in terms of percentage of gross domestic product. In March, a progress report on Libya from the European Commission said a blockade on oil exports by eastern federalists has "severely" affected Libya's fiscal situation.

Last weekend, the Libyan government agreed on terms with eastern rebel leaders to reopen oil ports al-Hariga and Zuetina. Both at peak capacity can export 200,000 barrels of oil per day combined.

Political groups operating under the authority of Ibrahim al-Jathran, who is seeking more autonomy for the eastern region of Cyrenaica, had blocked the export terminals.

Tripoli under the terms of the deal agreed to pay compensation to eastern rebels and call off threats of military action in the region. Eastern rebels in turn are prohibited from taking action that would halt operations at export terminals.

[U.S. Embassy in Libya]

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