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NATO allies welcome Libyan progress

Five members of the alliance have expressed recent concern about the security of Libya's oil wealth.

By Daniel J. Graeber
NATO allies welcome Libyan progress
NATO members welcome financial efforts made in Libya, one week after expressing concern about the stability of port facilities associated with the country's vast oil wealth. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

TRIPOLI, Libya, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Members of the NATO alliance said they welcomed Libyan investment board actions as a step toward ensuring authority over the nation's oil wealth.

The governments of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States issued a joint statement welcoming the formation of an interim five-member steering committee for the Libyan Investment Authority.

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Under a U.N. Security Council resolution, the consolidation of the investment authority, the National Oil Company and the Central Bank of Libya around the internationally backed government in Tripoli is "a matter of urgency," the joint statement read.

All six of the NATO members in their statement called on "all Libyans to support the government in preserving and protecting the independence and integrity of the Libyan financial institutions for the benefit of all Libyans."

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A report this week from the Libya Herald said the formation of the interim steering committee follows the resignation from the LIA's board of trustees of a Central Bank of Libya governor protesting the way the investment authority was operating.

The investment authority, meanwhile, has argued in a high court in London that banking giant Goldman Sachs had exploited its position as a newly formed government entity when they worked on financial transactions before the Libyan civil war.

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The joint statement on the interim council follows last week's expression of concern from the NATO allies about tensions near the Zuetina oil facility. All parties, the allies said, are called on to restrain from hostilities that would damage or otherwise interrupt operations at Libya's energy infrastructure.

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Libya in July moved to reopen some of its oil terminals, which were idled for nearly two years by threats from rival internal powers.

A member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Libya in July produced about 304,000 barrels of oil per day, down about 70 percent from pre-war levels.

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