Archive for the ‘Libya’ Category

Libyan forces step up patrols to stop Islamic State regrouping – Reuters

MISRATA, Libya (Reuters) – Libya forces allied with UN-backed government who last year defeated Islamic State in Sirte are increasing patrols to stop the militants regrouping and threatening to launch attacks on the port city of Misrata, a military commander said.

The forces, mainly brigades from Misrata drove Islamic State from Sirte at the end of last year after a six-month campaign backed by U.S airstrikes. Islamic State took over the city in 2015 taking advantage of Libya’s political chaos.

“We have spotted movements by Daesh (Islamic State) in the south of Sirte, where they are trying to regroup and break through our forces’ lines in the south,” said Mohamed Ghasri, spokesman for the “Al-Bunyan al-Marsous” forces in Misrata.

Ghasri gave no details of numbers of fighters estimated in the south of Sirte. But he said Misrata forces had lacked support from the international community since defeating Islamic State last year.

French officials fear Islamic State militants and other jihadists could try to exploit any power vacuum in Libya to regroup after losing ground in Syria and Iraq.

The Misrata forces took the fight to Sirte after Islamic State took over the city nearly two years ago and launched attacks on nearby oilfields and threatened Misrata, a major port city and home to one of Libya’s most powerful armed factions.

Militants took advantage of Libya’s steady descent into turmoil after civil war ousted Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Rival brigades of former rebels backed by competing political factions turned against each other in a fight for control.

A U.N.-backed government in Tripoli is trying to extend its influence, though it is facing resistance from some armed rivals. Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and eastern commander Khalifa Haftar agreed to work on a ceasefire and elections at talks in Paris on Wednesday.

Reporting by Ayman Al-Sahli in Misrata; writing by Ahmed Elumami in Tripoli; editing by Patrick Markey and Richard Balmforth

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Libyan forces step up patrols to stop Islamic State regrouping – Reuters

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July 26, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Unlikely humanitarians ship owners returning to Libya face a tough moral dilemma – Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

A surge in Libyan oil exports production has increased sharply in the past few months, jumping to four-year highs of over 1 million b/d this month is seeing more and more oil tankers travel to and from the North African countrys key oil terminals, increasing tanker activity and pushing up freight rates in the Mediterranean. So far, so good for shipowners.

But as more tankers call at Libyan ports, something which they were happy to avoid altogether less than a year ago, they can find themselves being drawn into the role of unlikely and possibly begrudging humanitarians.

Increasingly they are receiving calls to assist unseaworthy vessels carrying migrants heading for Europe, shipping sources say. Under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) which was first introduced after the sinking of the Titanic all vessels have a legal obligation to respond to other vessels in distress.

It is a somewhat incongruous image, an oil tanker teeming with rescued migrants, but it captures two of the big contemporary issues in the world our reliance on oil and energy in general, and the profound economic struggles faced by some in this uncertain world that would force them to undertake such a dangerous journey. The issue of migrants is becoming a real talking point among shipowners, who argue that picking up in-distress migrants is both time-consuming and a potentially serious security risk: the number of people picked up could easily outnumber the crew and they may even be armed. There havent been any problems to date, but it is an obvious concern.

War-torn Libya has over recent years become the key route for migrants from Africa and the Middle East, serving as a portal to Europe. This is not new, but with the rise in oil flows out of Libya, there are more tankers in the Libyan waters which has also coincided with even more migrants making their way through the desert terrain of northern Africa to sail from Libya, with the ongoing civil unrest and political instability in the country making it a fertile area for human smugglers and traffickers.

So far this year 93,213 people have arrived in Italy by sea, with a good majority of them on oil tankers, according to UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency. Estimates put the number of people from outside Libya currently in the country and trying to get to Europe at around 300,000.

European and African ministers were meeting in Tunis this week to discuss a plan to limit the flow of migrants to Europe to about 20,000, coupled with a much tougher strategy to deport illegal migrants from Italy and break up smuggling rings.

Much rests on whether or not they can come up with workable solutions. The pressure is becoming ever greater, especially with the Balkan route for migrants having recently been closed by central European countries, forcing more to take to the sea and cross through Libya.

In the face of this Italian government is seriously discussing preventing aid vessels from dropping migrants from Libyan waters to Italian ports, tankers that make rescues could be left in limbo if they cannot disembark the refugees they rescue from the sea at Italian ports. This is an issue that European shipping markets will definitely be following closely as the role of tankers as unlikely aid vessels continues. Source: Platts

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Unlikely humanitarians ship owners returning to Libya face a tough moral dilemma – Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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Libya’s PM, eastern commander commit to ceasefire, election

CELLE-SAINT-CLOUD, France (Reuters) – Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and the divided country’s eastern commander Khalifa Haftar committed to a conditional ceasefire and to work towards holding elections next spring in talks chaired by French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.

Past attempts at peace deals in oil-producing Libya have often been scuttled by internal divisions among the myriad of competing armed groups that have emerged since rebels toppled strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

“We commit to a ceasefire and to refrain from any use of armed force for any purpose that does not strictly constitute counter-terrorism,” the rivals said in a rare statement agreed in the second encounter between the rivals since talks in Abu Dhabi in May that produced little concrete progress.

Serraj and Haftar agreed to work to hold elections as soon as possible under U.N. supervision, the document added. Macron said they had agreed on spring next year.

Western governments are pushing a U.N.-backed political agreement to unify the country under which Serraj’s Tripoli-based government was installed. One key sticking point has been the role Haftar could play and who would control Libya’s army.

“There is political legitimacy. That is in the hands of Mr al-Serraj. There is military legitimacy – that of commander Haftar. They have decided to act together. This is a powerful act,” Macron told reporters after the two Libyan rivals shook hands, smiling, in front of cameras.

“They have the legitimacy and capacity to gather around them all those who want to be involved in a political process of reconciliation and construction of peace.”

The statement was in line with a draft circulated earlier on Tuesday by the French presidency.

Macron said on July 13 there would be concrete diplomatic initiatives on resolving the Libyan conflict soon.

He wants France to play a bigger role in coaxing Libya’s factions to end the turmoil that has allowed Islamist militants to gain a foothold and migrant smugglers to flourish in the absence of a strong central government.

Haftar, who this month declared victory over rival armed groups in the battle for Libya’s second city Benghazi, has refused to accept the government’s legitimacy. He has been gaining ground backed by allies Egypt and United Arab Emirates.

Serraj is backed by Haftar’s rivals, armed brigades in the western city of Misrata, and by some factions in Tripoli. But he has struggled to extend his government’s influence and faces resistance from some hardliners in the capital.

French officials fear Islamic State militants – who were driven from the coastal city of Sirte last year – and other jihadists could try to exploit the power vacuum in Libya to regroup after losing substantial ground in Syria and Iraq, and see this a window to push the sides closer together.

But the French initiative to hold these talks has angered officials in Italy, which has previously taken the lead in efforts to bring peace to its former North African colony and borne the brunt of successive waves of African migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean from Libya.

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano on Tuesday told La Stampa newspaper he supported the French initiative. But he added: “There are too many open questions on Libya, too many mediators, too many initiatives … we need to combine our efforts and focus them on (U.N. envoy for Libya Ghassan) Salame.”

Additional reporting by Patrick Markey, Crispian Balmer, Mathias Blamont; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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Who is Mansour Al-Kikhia? – The Libya Observer

Mansour Al-Kikhia is a Libyan politician and diplomat, one of the most prominent opponents of the former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. He vanished under mysterious circumstances in 1993 until his body was found 19 years later in a refrigerator in a villa belonging to Libya’s former military intelligence services in Tripoli.

Al-Kikhia was born in 1931 in Benghazi. As a child, he grew up and studied primarily in his hometown Benghazi before being sent to Egypt to attend high school. He went on to complete his university education and he graduated in 1950.

Al-Kikhia received a degree in international law from the Sorbonne University in Paris which put him on a path to becoming a human rights activist and ultimately meant facing the Gaddafi regime. In 1984 he founded the Libyan Human Rights Association from exile then two years later he established the Libyan National Alliance and was elected to the position of Secretary General. In the early 1970s, he stood for his principles and defended the rights of prisoners despite the risk of this work under a regime that arrests, intimidates, tortures and kills people, who just wanted to get their voices heard.

Al-Kikhia had long been involved in politics since the time of the monarchy, which made of him a leading politician and diplomat. In 1962 he joined the Libyan Embassy in France and after, in Algeria in 1963. He was a General Consul in Geneva (1963-1967) and a member of the Libyan Mission to the United Nations in 1968. After the coup of Muammar Gaddafi he went on occupying important official posts. He was appointed as Libyan foreign minister from 1972-1973; then he was appointed as the Permanent Representative of the United Nations in Libya between the years 1975-1980 before announcing his resignation and opposition to the former Gaddafi’s regime in protest against the policies of summary executions practiced by the Libyan state at the time through the so-called revolutionary committees.

Al-Kikhia vanished under suspicious circumstances during his participation in the Board of Trustees of the Arab Organization for Human Rights meeting in Cairo on the 10th of December 1993.

His disappearance remained a mystery due to the lack of evidence; however, the Libyan Intelligence Services were accused of kidnapping Al-Kikhia in cooperation with the former Egyptian regime.

After years of mystery, the remains of Al-Kikhia were found in October 2012 inside a refrigerator of a villa belonging to the former military intelligence in Tripoli, owing to information provided by Abdullah al-Senussi, head of the Intelligence Service of the former regime following his arrest during the February revolution.

The CIA conducted a report that points to the involvement of the Egyptian agents in kidnapping Al-Kikhia before handing him over to the Libyan authorities who later executed him. This was confirmed by the former foreign minister of Gaddafi’s regime Abd al-Rahman Shalgham in an interview with the London-based newspaper Al-Hayat, where he said that the Egyptian security kidnapped Al-Kikhia and then he was transferred to Tobruk where he was received by Abdullah al-Senussi. For nearly twenty years his whereabouts remained unknown until Gaddafi was over thrown, still, the circumstances of his death remain a mystery up to this day. Some have speculated that he died during the events at Abu Salim’s prison; while some claim that he died in prison as a result of medical negligence.

The Libyan Foreign Ministry held a state funeral in Benghazi and memorial service in his honour on December 3rd, 2012.

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Libyan Rivals Agree to a Cease-Fire and Elections After Talks in France – TIME

This combination of pictures shows self-styled Libyan National Army’s chief Khalifa Haftar (L) on Aug. 24, 2015 and Libya’s U.N.-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj on April 7, 2017.Khalil MazraawiAFP/Getty Images

(LA CELLE SAINT-CLOUD, France) Two rival Libyan leaders committed themselves on Tuesday to a cease-fire, working toward presidential and parliamentary elections and finding a roadmap to secure lawless Libya against terrorism and trafficking of all kinds, according to a document released by the French presidency.

The meetings at a chateau in La Celle Saint-Cloud, west of Paris, brought together Fayez Serraj, prime minister of the U.N.-backed unity government, and Gen. Khalifa Hifter, the Egyptian-backed commander of Libya’s self-styled national army.

Emmanuel Macron met separately with each ahead of an encounter between the two Libyans in the presence of U.N.’s newly appointed special envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame.

“There is political legitimacy in the hands of Mr. Serraj. There is military legitimacy is in the hands of Mr. Hifter. They have decided to work together,” Macron said after the series of encounters.

The 10-point joint declaration that capped the talks was the first of its kind between the rivals.

Among the points agreed upon was a commitment to a cease-fire with armed force reserved “strictly” for use in counter-terrorism operations.

The rivals also “solemnly commit to work toward the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible.”

The French president said later that the goal is for balloting in the spring. Serraj had said in May that elections would be held in spring. The date may seem premature in a country that has spiraled into chaos since the 2011 toppling and killing of leader Moammar Gadhafi. But French diplomats had said before the meeting that they would support such an initiative.

“The stakes of this reconciliation are enormous. Enormous for the Libyan people, who have been suffering, living with instability and terrorist threats these past years, and it is considerable for the whole region,” Macron said after the talks. “If Libya fails,” he said, “the whole region fails with it.”

The stakes are high for Europe, too, as hundreds of thousands of migrants using Libya as a springboard reach its shores, mainly in Italy, and as Islamic extremists sheltering and multiplying in Libya cross to other North African states, most former French colonies.

The encounter was never expected to resolve the knotty problems of Libya, politically fractured and awash in militias and weapons and human traffickers preying on migrants who use the Libyan coast as a jumping off point to Europe, mainly Italy. But the joint declaration is to serve as a basis for further work by the U.N. envoy.

Macron, elected in May, was at ease in his role as peacemaker. He has made known that working toward laying the groundwork for a Libya with a functioning government and institutions is a priority of his presidency.

Appearing at a news conference, the three men shook hands and the two Libyan rivals bear-hugged Macron before exchanging timid kisses on the cheek. Neither Serraj nor Hifter spoke to the press.

“The courage that is yours today by being here and by agreeing to this joint declaration is historic,” Macron said.

France, minding its diplomatic manners, has made clear that Macron’s initiative is part of a larger process guided by the U.N. and does not negate work by the European Union, the African Union and individual countries working to find a path leading to a stable Libya under civilian rule.

The 10 points of the final declaration paint a picture of a Libya with a democratically elected government and a regular army and where human rights are respected and militias are banned.

The first point states that the solution to the Libyan crisis “can only be political” with a national reconciliation process that includes “all Libyans.”

The two leaders called for disarmament and demobilization of fighters who don’t want to integrate the regular armed forces so they can be reintegrated into civilian life.

This was not the first meeting between Serraj and Hifter. They last met in early May in Abu Dhabi, and the United Arab Emirates said later there had been a “significant breakthrough.” However, no joint declaration followed.

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Libyan Rivals Agree to a Cease-Fire and Elections After Talks in France – TIME

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Rescuers find 13 bodies in crowded migrant dinghy off Libya – News24

Rome – Rescuers coming to the aid of a dinghy packed with migrants off the coast of Libya said on Tuesday they had discovered 13 bodies including those of pregnant women.

“Thirteen corpses in total. People who had names, surnames, mothers, fathers, friends, and lives,” said Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish NGO involved in rescues in the Mediterranean, on Twitter.

“We have found 167 people drifting,” it said earlier noting that “several pregnant women and mothers” were among an initial toll of 11 dead and that their relatives were on board.

A Save The Children ship on Tuesday rescued some 70 migrants who were also attempting to cross in a small boat.

The Italian coastguard confirmed the deaths and said worsening weather conditions at sea were likely to dissuade traffickers for now from setting more boats full of people to sail in the Mediterranean.

Close to 94 000 people have been brought to safety in Italy so far this year, according to Italy’s interior ministry, an increase of over five percent compared to the same period last year.

More than 2 370 people have died since January attempting the perilous crossing, the UN refugee agency said.

The fresh deaths came as Italy’s Interior Minister Marco Minniti was due to meet with NGOs to discuss a new “code of conduct” to regulate the operations of privately run rescue boats.

The 12-point code, which has been given the green-light by Brussels, would ban aid vessels from entering Libyan territorial waters and oblige them to accept anti-trafficking police officers on board.

While some of the NGOs operating in the Mediterranean have agreed to sign the code, others have insisted doing so would put the lives of vulnerable migrants at sea in flimsy vessels at risk.

Minniti has insisted that those who do not sign the document will not be allowed to dock at Italian ports.

Although Italy has repeatedly stressed that it will continue to save lives at sea, Rome has upped its requests for fellow European states to help shoulder the load – particularly in terms of providing shelter to those rescued.

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Libya – Joint Declaration (Paris, 25 July 2017) – France Diplomatie (press release)

The President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, wished to contribute to resolving the Libyan crisis by inviting to La Celle Saint-Cloud on 25 July 2017 the Chairman of the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord, Fayez Al Sarraj, and the commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar.

This initiative fully supports the role of the new Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Ghassan Salam, who took part in the discussions on 25 July. Frances aim is to contribute to drawing up a political solution and helping the Libyans strengthen the Skhirat Libyan Political Agreement to make it more effective and inclusive.

The meeting in La Celle Saint-Cloud follows on from the meetings already held at various levels in Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Algeria, taking up their consensual elements. It aims to foster sustained and inclusive inter-Libyan dialogue in which all actors in good faith have a role to play.

In this context, the following declaration was adopted by the Libyan parties present:

We, Fayez Al Sarraj, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, and Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, met in La Celle Saint-Cloud on 25 July 2017 at the invitation of the President of the French Republic and in the presence of Ghassan Salam, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Libya, in order to advance the cause of national reconciliation, and have agreed as follows:

1. The solution to the Libya crisis can only be a political one and requires a national reconciliation process involving all Libyans, including the institutional, security and military actors who are prepared to participate peacefully, with the safe return of displaced persons and refugees and the creation of a transitional justice, reparation and national amnesty process as well as the implementation of Article 34 on security arrangements of the Libyan Political Agreement.

2. We commit to a ceasefire and to refrain from any use of armed force for any purpose that does not strictly constitute counter-terrorism, in compliance with the Libyan Political Agreement and international treaties, and in order to protect Libyas territory and sovereignty and we strongly condemn all that threatens the stability of the territory.

3. We are committed to building the rule of law in a sovereign, civilian and democratic Libya that ensures the separation and peaceful transfer of powers and respect for human rights, and that has unified national institutions, such as the Central Bank of Libya, the National Oil Corporation and the Libyan Investment Authority. It should guarantee the safety of citizens, the integrity of the territory and the sovereignty of the State and the proper management of natural and financial resources in the interest of all Libyans.

4. We are determined, supported by the impartial work of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, to make effective the Libyan Political Agreement of 17 December 2015 and to continue political dialogue building on the Abu Dhabi meeting of 3 May 2017.

5. We will make all efforts to support the consultations and work of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, which need to be the subject of inclusive political dialogue in which the House of Representatives and the High Council of State will play their full role.

6. We will continue our dialogue beyond La Celle Saint-Cloud meeting, pursuant to this declaration, and we commit to create conditions that are conducive to the work of the House of Representatives, the High Council of State and the High National Election Commission for the preparation of the upcoming elections.

7. We will make all efforts to integrate fighters who so wish into the regular forces and call for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the others into civilian life. The Libyan army will be made up of lawful military forces ensuring the defence of the Libyan territory in compliance with Article 33 of the Libyan Political Agreement.

8. We have decided to work on establishing a roadmap for the security and defence of the Libyan territory against threats and trafficking of all types. We will work so that all security and military forces present adhere to this plan in the framework of the reunification of the military and security institutions in order to coordinate in the fight against terrorism, control migration flows through the Libyan territory, secure and control borders, and combat organized criminal networks that instrumentalize Libya and destabilize the Central Mediterranean.

9. We solemnly commit to work towards the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible as from 25 July in cooperation with the relevant institutions and with the support and under the supervision of the United Nations.

10. We ask the United Nations Security Council to support the guidelines of this declaration, and the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to engage in the necessary consultations with the different Libyan actors.

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Libya – Joint Declaration (Paris, 25 July 2017) – France Diplomatie (press release)

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WFP Welcomes Contribution From Italy For Emergency Food Assistance In Libya – Reliefweb

TUNIS The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a contribution of 1 million (US$1.16 million) from the Government of Italy that will provide food assistance to tens of thousands of Libyans affected by the ongoing conflict since 2011.

We thank Italy for this generous contribution to WFPs emergency operation in Libya, which will help alleviate the suffering of people living in difficult conditions with little access to food and other life-saving assistance, said Wagdi Othman, WFP Libya Country Director.

This represents the second contribution made by Italy for WFPs food assistance programme in Libya since 2016. WFP will use these funds to deliver food rations to almost 80,000 people in the country. Each ration provides a family of five with a one-month supply of rice, pasta, wheat flour, chickpeas, vegetable oil, sugar and tomato paste.

In 2017, WFP aims to reach 175,000 people in Libya affected by hunger and ongoing conflict. Priority is given to the most vulnerable people, particularly those who have been internally displaced, returnees and refugees, as well as households headed by unemployed women.

The humanitarian situation in Libya continues to deteriorate because of ongoing conflict and political and economic instability, all of which negatively affect families livelihoods and their ability to meet their basic needs, including food. As a result, people have resorted to measures such as cutting meals, taking children out of school, or cutting healthcare expenses.

WFP urgently requires US$9.5 million to continue providing vital food assistance to families in Libya for the next six months. While political instability and insecurity hinder WFPs ability to operate in the country, the greatest challenge remains the lack of funding.

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_MENA

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org): Flavia Brunetti, WFP/Libya, Mob. +216 58558309 Shada Moghraby, WFP/Amman, Mob. +962 79728 0924

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WFP Welcomes Contribution From Italy For Emergency Food Assistance In Libya – Reliefweb

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Saudis Focus on Oil-Export Curbs as Libya, Nigeria Pump More – Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia promised deep cuts to crude exports next month,emphasizing its commitment to eliminating a global supply glut even as fellow OPEC members Libya and Nigeria were told they are free to keep increasing output.

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Shipments from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries largest producer will be capped at 6.6 million barrels a day in August, 1 million lower than a year earlier, Saudi Arabias Energy and Industry Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Monday. The kingdom wont act alone to balance the market and other nations should improve their implementation of supply cuts, he said after meeting fellow producersin St. Petersburg, Russia.

At the same time Nigeria and Libya — both granted exemptions from the supply deal last year — are allowed to keep boosting output to their desired levels, Al-Falih said.

Saudi Arabia Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih speaks after a meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia.

(Source: Bloomberg)

We remain supportive of our brothers and partners in the two African countries as they recover from output disruptions, Al-Falih said. The committee however should monitor the impact of such growth in supply on global supply-demand balances.

The prospect of one set of producers curbing production and exports while another group ramps up reflects the contradiction at the heart of last years historic agreement between OPEC and allies including Russia. While laggards like Iraq come under increased pressure to fulfill their pledged cuts, Libya and Nigeria were free to add 440,000 barrels a day of supply from May to June, prolonging the glut.

Libya is allowed to keep increasing and plans to raise output as high as 1.25 million barrels a day, Al-Falih said. Nigeria is ready to accept a cap if production rises to 1.8 million barrels a day, said Omans Minister of Oil and Gas Mohammed Al Rumhy. Reaching those levels would add another half a million barrels a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Oil slumped into a bear market last month with prices only about $2 higher than when the cuts were agreed on last year. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures in New York were up 0.6 percent at $46.60 a barrel at 12:24 p.m. Singapore time. Brent crude, the benchmark for more than half the worlds oil, was 0.5 percent higher at $48.84 in London.

Beyond the renewed focus on exports, the St. Petersburg meeting made no changes to the supply deal to correct that underwhelming performance. The group is still betting that rising demand will help to rapidly deplete fuel stockpiles and buoy prices in the second half.

That could prove to be a risky wager, even with OPEC estimating that global oil consumption will be almost 2 million barrels a day higher on average in the second half of the year compared with the first six months. Rising supply inside and outside the group suggests the cuts wont put a significant dent in bloated global inventories by the time the agreement expires in March.

When OPEC holds its next full ministerial meeting in November, it may need to discuss extending the supply curbs further, United Arab Emirates Minister of Energy Suhail Al Mazrouei said in an interview with Bloomberg television on Monday. The price recovery might drag on into the second half of 2018, he said.

UAE Energy Minister discusses the impact of OPEC production cuts and the outlook for market recovery

(Source: Bloomberg)

In the near term, a greater focus on limiting exports makes sense, said Amrita Sen, Chief Oil Market Analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd.

Where OPEC has made a mistake so far this year is that they cut production, but didnt cut exports by as much, said Sen. That meant producers were running down their own stockpiles, but having a lesser impact on their customers inventories. From the markets point of view, the only thing they care about is exports.

The Saudi minister pushed to improve implementation of the production cuts from the nations already participating in the deal. Compliance dropped to 92 percent in June from 110 percent in May, according to people familiar with OPECs internal data. Iraq made just 28 percent of its pledged cuts.

Some countries continue to lag in their compliance which is a concern we must address head on, Al-Falih said. Exports have now become the key metric for financial markets, and we need to find a way to reconcile credible export data with production data in our monitoring.

The Joint Technical Committee — officials from Algeria, Kuwait, Venezuela, Oman and Russia who already monitor compliance with the cuts — will now also study data on exports, he said.

With assistance by Angelina Rascouet

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Libyan forces step up patrols to stop Islamic State regrouping – Reuters

MISRATA, Libya (Reuters) – Libya forces allied with UN-backed government who last year defeated Islamic State in Sirte are increasing patrols to stop the militants regrouping and threatening to launch attacks on the port city of Misrata, a military commander said. The forces, mainly brigades from Misrata drove Islamic State from Sirte at the end of last year after a six-month campaign backed by U.S airstrikes. Islamic State took over the city in 2015 taking advantage of Libya’s political chaos. “We have spotted movements by Daesh (Islamic State) in the south of Sirte, where they are trying to regroup and break through our forces’ lines in the south,” said Mohamed Ghasri, spokesman for the “Al-Bunyan al-Marsous” forces in Misrata. Ghasri gave no details of numbers of fighters estimated in the south of Sirte. But he said Misrata forces had lacked support from the international community since defeating Islamic State last year. French officials fear Islamic State militants and other jihadists could try to exploit any power vacuum in Libya to regroup after losing ground in Syria and Iraq. The Misrata forces took the fight to Sirte after Islamic State took over the city nearly two years ago and launched attacks on nearby oilfields and threatened Misrata, a major port city and home to one of Libya’s most powerful armed factions. Militants took advantage of Libya’s steady descent into turmoil after civil war ousted Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Rival brigades of former rebels backed by competing political factions turned against each other in a fight for control. A U.N.-backed government in Tripoli is trying to extend its influence, though it is facing resistance from some armed rivals. Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and eastern commander Khalifa Haftar agreed to work on a ceasefire and elections at talks in Paris on Wednesday. Reporting by Ayman Al-Sahli in Misrata; writing by Ahmed Elumami in Tripoli; editing by Patrick Markey and Richard Balmforth

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July 26, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Unlikely humanitarians ship owners returning to Libya face a tough moral dilemma – Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

A surge in Libyan oil exports production has increased sharply in the past few months, jumping to four-year highs of over 1 million b/d this month is seeing more and more oil tankers travel to and from the North African countrys key oil terminals, increasing tanker activity and pushing up freight rates in the Mediterranean. So far, so good for shipowners. But as more tankers call at Libyan ports, something which they were happy to avoid altogether less than a year ago, they can find themselves being drawn into the role of unlikely and possibly begrudging humanitarians. Increasingly they are receiving calls to assist unseaworthy vessels carrying migrants heading for Europe, shipping sources say. Under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) which was first introduced after the sinking of the Titanic all vessels have a legal obligation to respond to other vessels in distress. It is a somewhat incongruous image, an oil tanker teeming with rescued migrants, but it captures two of the big contemporary issues in the world our reliance on oil and energy in general, and the profound economic struggles faced by some in this uncertain world that would force them to undertake such a dangerous journey. The issue of migrants is becoming a real talking point among shipowners, who argue that picking up in-distress migrants is both time-consuming and a potentially serious security risk: the number of people picked up could easily outnumber the crew and they may even be armed. There havent been any problems to date, but it is an obvious concern. War-torn Libya has over recent years become the key route for migrants from Africa and the Middle East, serving as a portal to Europe. This is not new, but with the rise in oil flows out of Libya, there are more tankers in the Libyan waters which has also coincided with even more migrants making their way through the desert terrain of northern Africa to sail from Libya, with the ongoing civil unrest and political instability in the country making it a fertile area for human smugglers and traffickers. So far this year 93,213 people have arrived in Italy by sea, with a good majority of them on oil tankers, according to UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency. Estimates put the number of people from outside Libya currently in the country and trying to get to Europe at around 300,000. European and African ministers were meeting in Tunis this week to discuss a plan to limit the flow of migrants to Europe to about 20,000, coupled with a much tougher strategy to deport illegal migrants from Italy and break up smuggling rings. Much rests on whether or not they can come up with workable solutions. The pressure is becoming ever greater, especially with the Balkan route for migrants having recently been closed by central European countries, forcing more to take to the sea and cross through Libya. In the face of this Italian government is seriously discussing preventing aid vessels from dropping migrants from Libyan waters to Italian ports, tankers that make rescues could be left in limbo if they cannot disembark the refugees they rescue from the sea at Italian ports. This is an issue that European shipping markets will definitely be following closely as the role of tankers as unlikely aid vessels continues. Source: Platts

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July 26, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Libya’s PM, eastern commander commit to ceasefire, election

CELLE-SAINT-CLOUD, France (Reuters) – Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and the divided country’s eastern commander Khalifa Haftar committed to a conditional ceasefire and to work towards holding elections next spring in talks chaired by French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday. Past attempts at peace deals in oil-producing Libya have often been scuttled by internal divisions among the myriad of competing armed groups that have emerged since rebels toppled strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. “We commit to a ceasefire and to refrain from any use of armed force for any purpose that does not strictly constitute counter-terrorism,” the rivals said in a rare statement agreed in the second encounter between the rivals since talks in Abu Dhabi in May that produced little concrete progress. Serraj and Haftar agreed to work to hold elections as soon as possible under U.N. supervision, the document added. Macron said they had agreed on spring next year. Western governments are pushing a U.N.-backed political agreement to unify the country under which Serraj’s Tripoli-based government was installed. One key sticking point has been the role Haftar could play and who would control Libya’s army. “There is political legitimacy. That is in the hands of Mr al-Serraj. There is military legitimacy – that of commander Haftar. They have decided to act together. This is a powerful act,” Macron told reporters after the two Libyan rivals shook hands, smiling, in front of cameras. “They have the legitimacy and capacity to gather around them all those who want to be involved in a political process of reconciliation and construction of peace.” The statement was in line with a draft circulated earlier on Tuesday by the French presidency. Macron said on July 13 there would be concrete diplomatic initiatives on resolving the Libyan conflict soon. He wants France to play a bigger role in coaxing Libya’s factions to end the turmoil that has allowed Islamist militants to gain a foothold and migrant smugglers to flourish in the absence of a strong central government. Haftar, who this month declared victory over rival armed groups in the battle for Libya’s second city Benghazi, has refused to accept the government’s legitimacy. He has been gaining ground backed by allies Egypt and United Arab Emirates. Serraj is backed by Haftar’s rivals, armed brigades in the western city of Misrata, and by some factions in Tripoli. But he has struggled to extend his government’s influence and faces resistance from some hardliners in the capital. French officials fear Islamic State militants – who were driven from the coastal city of Sirte last year – and other jihadists could try to exploit the power vacuum in Libya to regroup after losing substantial ground in Syria and Iraq, and see this a window to push the sides closer together. But the French initiative to hold these talks has angered officials in Italy, which has previously taken the lead in efforts to bring peace to its former North African colony and borne the brunt of successive waves of African migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean from Libya. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano on Tuesday told La Stampa newspaper he supported the French initiative. But he added: “There are too many open questions on Libya, too many mediators, too many initiatives … we need to combine our efforts and focus them on (U.N. envoy for Libya Ghassan) Salame.” Additional reporting by Patrick Markey, Crispian Balmer, Mathias Blamont; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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July 26, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Who is Mansour Al-Kikhia? – The Libya Observer

Mansour Al-Kikhia is a Libyan politician and diplomat, one of the most prominent opponents of the former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. He vanished under mysterious circumstances in 1993 until his body was found 19 years later in a refrigerator in a villa belonging to Libya’s former military intelligence services in Tripoli. Al-Kikhia was born in 1931 in Benghazi. As a child, he grew up and studied primarily in his hometown Benghazi before being sent to Egypt to attend high school. He went on to complete his university education and he graduated in 1950. Al-Kikhia received a degree in international law from the Sorbonne University in Paris which put him on a path to becoming a human rights activist and ultimately meant facing the Gaddafi regime. In 1984 he founded the Libyan Human Rights Association from exile then two years later he established the Libyan National Alliance and was elected to the position of Secretary General. In the early 1970s, he stood for his principles and defended the rights of prisoners despite the risk of this work under a regime that arrests, intimidates, tortures and kills people, who just wanted to get their voices heard. Al-Kikhia had long been involved in politics since the time of the monarchy, which made of him a leading politician and diplomat. In 1962 he joined the Libyan Embassy in France and after, in Algeria in 1963. He was a General Consul in Geneva (1963-1967) and a member of the Libyan Mission to the United Nations in 1968. After the coup of Muammar Gaddafi he went on occupying important official posts. He was appointed as Libyan foreign minister from 1972-1973; then he was appointed as the Permanent Representative of the United Nations in Libya between the years 1975-1980 before announcing his resignation and opposition to the former Gaddafi’s regime in protest against the policies of summary executions practiced by the Libyan state at the time through the so-called revolutionary committees. Al-Kikhia vanished under suspicious circumstances during his participation in the Board of Trustees of the Arab Organization for Human Rights meeting in Cairo on the 10th of December 1993. His disappearance remained a mystery due to the lack of evidence; however, the Libyan Intelligence Services were accused of kidnapping Al-Kikhia in cooperation with the former Egyptian regime. After years of mystery, the remains of Al-Kikhia were found in October 2012 inside a refrigerator of a villa belonging to the former military intelligence in Tripoli, owing to information provided by Abdullah al-Senussi, head of the Intelligence Service of the former regime following his arrest during the February revolution. The CIA conducted a report that points to the involvement of the Egyptian agents in kidnapping Al-Kikhia before handing him over to the Libyan authorities who later executed him. This was confirmed by the former foreign minister of Gaddafi’s regime Abd al-Rahman Shalgham in an interview with the London-based newspaper Al-Hayat, where he said that the Egyptian security kidnapped Al-Kikhia and then he was transferred to Tobruk where he was received by Abdullah al-Senussi. For nearly twenty years his whereabouts remained unknown until Gaddafi was over thrown, still, the circumstances of his death remain a mystery up to this day. Some have speculated that he died during the events at Abu Salim’s prison; while some claim that he died in prison as a result of medical negligence. The Libyan Foreign Ministry held a state funeral in Benghazi and memorial service in his honour on December 3rd, 2012.

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July 26, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Libyan Rivals Agree to a Cease-Fire and Elections After Talks in France – TIME

This combination of pictures shows self-styled Libyan National Army’s chief Khalifa Haftar (L) on Aug. 24, 2015 and Libya’s U.N.-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj on April 7, 2017.Khalil MazraawiAFP/Getty Images (LA CELLE SAINT-CLOUD, France) Two rival Libyan leaders committed themselves on Tuesday to a cease-fire, working toward presidential and parliamentary elections and finding a roadmap to secure lawless Libya against terrorism and trafficking of all kinds, according to a document released by the French presidency. The meetings at a chateau in La Celle Saint-Cloud, west of Paris, brought together Fayez Serraj, prime minister of the U.N.-backed unity government, and Gen. Khalifa Hifter, the Egyptian-backed commander of Libya’s self-styled national army. Emmanuel Macron met separately with each ahead of an encounter between the two Libyans in the presence of U.N.’s newly appointed special envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame. “There is political legitimacy in the hands of Mr. Serraj. There is military legitimacy is in the hands of Mr. Hifter. They have decided to work together,” Macron said after the series of encounters. The 10-point joint declaration that capped the talks was the first of its kind between the rivals. Among the points agreed upon was a commitment to a cease-fire with armed force reserved “strictly” for use in counter-terrorism operations. The rivals also “solemnly commit to work toward the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible.” The French president said later that the goal is for balloting in the spring. Serraj had said in May that elections would be held in spring. The date may seem premature in a country that has spiraled into chaos since the 2011 toppling and killing of leader Moammar Gadhafi. But French diplomats had said before the meeting that they would support such an initiative. “The stakes of this reconciliation are enormous. Enormous for the Libyan people, who have been suffering, living with instability and terrorist threats these past years, and it is considerable for the whole region,” Macron said after the talks. “If Libya fails,” he said, “the whole region fails with it.” The stakes are high for Europe, too, as hundreds of thousands of migrants using Libya as a springboard reach its shores, mainly in Italy, and as Islamic extremists sheltering and multiplying in Libya cross to other North African states, most former French colonies. The encounter was never expected to resolve the knotty problems of Libya, politically fractured and awash in militias and weapons and human traffickers preying on migrants who use the Libyan coast as a jumping off point to Europe, mainly Italy. But the joint declaration is to serve as a basis for further work by the U.N. envoy. Macron, elected in May, was at ease in his role as peacemaker. He has made known that working toward laying the groundwork for a Libya with a functioning government and institutions is a priority of his presidency. Appearing at a news conference, the three men shook hands and the two Libyan rivals bear-hugged Macron before exchanging timid kisses on the cheek. Neither Serraj nor Hifter spoke to the press. “The courage that is yours today by being here and by agreeing to this joint declaration is historic,” Macron said. France, minding its diplomatic manners, has made clear that Macron’s initiative is part of a larger process guided by the U.N. and does not negate work by the European Union, the African Union and individual countries working to find a path leading to a stable Libya under civilian rule. The 10 points of the final declaration paint a picture of a Libya with a democratically elected government and a regular army and where human rights are respected and militias are banned. The first point states that the solution to the Libyan crisis “can only be political” with a national reconciliation process that includes “all Libyans.” The two leaders called for disarmament and demobilization of fighters who don’t want to integrate the regular armed forces so they can be reintegrated into civilian life. This was not the first meeting between Serraj and Hifter. They last met in early May in Abu Dhabi, and the United Arab Emirates said later there had been a “significant breakthrough.” However, no joint declaration followed.

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July 26, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Rescuers find 13 bodies in crowded migrant dinghy off Libya – News24

Rome – Rescuers coming to the aid of a dinghy packed with migrants off the coast of Libya said on Tuesday they had discovered 13 bodies including those of pregnant women. “Thirteen corpses in total. People who had names, surnames, mothers, fathers, friends, and lives,” said Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish NGO involved in rescues in the Mediterranean, on Twitter. “We have found 167 people drifting,” it said earlier noting that “several pregnant women and mothers” were among an initial toll of 11 dead and that their relatives were on board. A Save The Children ship on Tuesday rescued some 70 migrants who were also attempting to cross in a small boat. The Italian coastguard confirmed the deaths and said worsening weather conditions at sea were likely to dissuade traffickers for now from setting more boats full of people to sail in the Mediterranean. Close to 94 000 people have been brought to safety in Italy so far this year, according to Italy’s interior ministry, an increase of over five percent compared to the same period last year. More than 2 370 people have died since January attempting the perilous crossing, the UN refugee agency said. The fresh deaths came as Italy’s Interior Minister Marco Minniti was due to meet with NGOs to discuss a new “code of conduct” to regulate the operations of privately run rescue boats. The 12-point code, which has been given the green-light by Brussels, would ban aid vessels from entering Libyan territorial waters and oblige them to accept anti-trafficking police officers on board. While some of the NGOs operating in the Mediterranean have agreed to sign the code, others have insisted doing so would put the lives of vulnerable migrants at sea in flimsy vessels at risk. Minniti has insisted that those who do not sign the document will not be allowed to dock at Italian ports. Although Italy has repeatedly stressed that it will continue to save lives at sea, Rome has upped its requests for fellow European states to help shoulder the load – particularly in terms of providing shelter to those rescued. 24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Libya – Joint Declaration (Paris, 25 July 2017) – France Diplomatie (press release)

The President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, wished to contribute to resolving the Libyan crisis by inviting to La Celle Saint-Cloud on 25 July 2017 the Chairman of the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord, Fayez Al Sarraj, and the commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar. This initiative fully supports the role of the new Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Ghassan Salam, who took part in the discussions on 25 July. Frances aim is to contribute to drawing up a political solution and helping the Libyans strengthen the Skhirat Libyan Political Agreement to make it more effective and inclusive. The meeting in La Celle Saint-Cloud follows on from the meetings already held at various levels in Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Algeria, taking up their consensual elements. It aims to foster sustained and inclusive inter-Libyan dialogue in which all actors in good faith have a role to play. In this context, the following declaration was adopted by the Libyan parties present: We, Fayez Al Sarraj, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, and Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, met in La Celle Saint-Cloud on 25 July 2017 at the invitation of the President of the French Republic and in the presence of Ghassan Salam, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Libya, in order to advance the cause of national reconciliation, and have agreed as follows: 1. The solution to the Libya crisis can only be a political one and requires a national reconciliation process involving all Libyans, including the institutional, security and military actors who are prepared to participate peacefully, with the safe return of displaced persons and refugees and the creation of a transitional justice, reparation and national amnesty process as well as the implementation of Article 34 on security arrangements of the Libyan Political Agreement. 2. We commit to a ceasefire and to refrain from any use of armed force for any purpose that does not strictly constitute counter-terrorism, in compliance with the Libyan Political Agreement and international treaties, and in order to protect Libyas territory and sovereignty and we strongly condemn all that threatens the stability of the territory. 3. We are committed to building the rule of law in a sovereign, civilian and democratic Libya that ensures the separation and peaceful transfer of powers and respect for human rights, and that has unified national institutions, such as the Central Bank of Libya, the National Oil Corporation and the Libyan Investment Authority. It should guarantee the safety of citizens, the integrity of the territory and the sovereignty of the State and the proper management of natural and financial resources in the interest of all Libyans. 4. We are determined, supported by the impartial work of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, to make effective the Libyan Political Agreement of 17 December 2015 and to continue political dialogue building on the Abu Dhabi meeting of 3 May 2017. 5. We will make all efforts to support the consultations and work of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, which need to be the subject of inclusive political dialogue in which the House of Representatives and the High Council of State will play their full role. 6. We will continue our dialogue beyond La Celle Saint-Cloud meeting, pursuant to this declaration, and we commit to create conditions that are conducive to the work of the House of Representatives, the High Council of State and the High National Election Commission for the preparation of the upcoming elections. 7. We will make all efforts to integrate fighters who so wish into the regular forces and call for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the others into civilian life. The Libyan army will be made up of lawful military forces ensuring the defence of the Libyan territory in compliance with Article 33 of the Libyan Political Agreement. 8. We have decided to work on establishing a roadmap for the security and defence of the Libyan territory against threats and trafficking of all types. We will work so that all security and military forces present adhere to this plan in the framework of the reunification of the military and security institutions in order to coordinate in the fight against terrorism, control migration flows through the Libyan territory, secure and control borders, and combat organized criminal networks that instrumentalize Libya and destabilize the Central Mediterranean. 9. We solemnly commit to work towards the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible as from 25 July in cooperation with the relevant institutions and with the support and under the supervision of the United Nations. 10. We ask the United Nations Security Council to support the guidelines of this declaration, and the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to engage in the necessary consultations with the different Libyan actors.

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

WFP Welcomes Contribution From Italy For Emergency Food Assistance In Libya – Reliefweb

TUNIS The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a contribution of 1 million (US$1.16 million) from the Government of Italy that will provide food assistance to tens of thousands of Libyans affected by the ongoing conflict since 2011. We thank Italy for this generous contribution to WFPs emergency operation in Libya, which will help alleviate the suffering of people living in difficult conditions with little access to food and other life-saving assistance, said Wagdi Othman, WFP Libya Country Director. This represents the second contribution made by Italy for WFPs food assistance programme in Libya since 2016. WFP will use these funds to deliver food rations to almost 80,000 people in the country. Each ration provides a family of five with a one-month supply of rice, pasta, wheat flour, chickpeas, vegetable oil, sugar and tomato paste. In 2017, WFP aims to reach 175,000 people in Libya affected by hunger and ongoing conflict. Priority is given to the most vulnerable people, particularly those who have been internally displaced, returnees and refugees, as well as households headed by unemployed women. The humanitarian situation in Libya continues to deteriorate because of ongoing conflict and political and economic instability, all of which negatively affect families livelihoods and their ability to meet their basic needs, including food. As a result, people have resorted to measures such as cutting meals, taking children out of school, or cutting healthcare expenses. WFP urgently requires US$9.5 million to continue providing vital food assistance to families in Libya for the next six months. While political instability and insecurity hinder WFPs ability to operate in the country, the greatest challenge remains the lack of funding. WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries. Follow us on Twitter @wfp_MENA For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org): Flavia Brunetti, WFP/Libya, Mob. +216 58558309 Shada Moghraby, WFP/Amman, Mob. +962 79728 0924

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Saudis Focus on Oil-Export Curbs as Libya, Nigeria Pump More – Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia promised deep cuts to crude exports next month,emphasizing its commitment to eliminating a global supply glut even as fellow OPEC members Libya and Nigeria were told they are free to keep increasing output. The most important market news of the day. Get our markets daily newsletter. Shipments from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries largest producer will be capped at 6.6 million barrels a day in August, 1 million lower than a year earlier, Saudi Arabias Energy and Industry Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Monday. The kingdom wont act alone to balance the market and other nations should improve their implementation of supply cuts, he said after meeting fellow producersin St. Petersburg, Russia. At the same time Nigeria and Libya — both granted exemptions from the supply deal last year — are allowed to keep boosting output to their desired levels, Al-Falih said. Saudi Arabia Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih speaks after a meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Source: Bloomberg) We remain supportive of our brothers and partners in the two African countries as they recover from output disruptions, Al-Falih said. The committee however should monitor the impact of such growth in supply on global supply-demand balances. The prospect of one set of producers curbing production and exports while another group ramps up reflects the contradiction at the heart of last years historic agreement between OPEC and allies including Russia. While laggards like Iraq come under increased pressure to fulfill their pledged cuts, Libya and Nigeria were free to add 440,000 barrels a day of supply from May to June, prolonging the glut. Libya is allowed to keep increasing and plans to raise output as high as 1.25 million barrels a day, Al-Falih said. Nigeria is ready to accept a cap if production rises to 1.8 million barrels a day, said Omans Minister of Oil and Gas Mohammed Al Rumhy. Reaching those levels would add another half a million barrels a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Oil slumped into a bear market last month with prices only about $2 higher than when the cuts were agreed on last year. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures in New York were up 0.6 percent at $46.60 a barrel at 12:24 p.m. Singapore time. Brent crude, the benchmark for more than half the worlds oil, was 0.5 percent higher at $48.84 in London. Beyond the renewed focus on exports, the St. Petersburg meeting made no changes to the supply deal to correct that underwhelming performance. The group is still betting that rising demand will help to rapidly deplete fuel stockpiles and buoy prices in the second half. That could prove to be a risky wager, even with OPEC estimating that global oil consumption will be almost 2 million barrels a day higher on average in the second half of the year compared with the first six months. Rising supply inside and outside the group suggests the cuts wont put a significant dent in bloated global inventories by the time the agreement expires in March. When OPEC holds its next full ministerial meeting in November, it may need to discuss extending the supply curbs further, United Arab Emirates Minister of Energy Suhail Al Mazrouei said in an interview with Bloomberg television on Monday. The price recovery might drag on into the second half of 2018, he said. UAE Energy Minister discusses the impact of OPEC production cuts and the outlook for market recovery (Source: Bloomberg) In the near term, a greater focus on limiting exports makes sense, said Amrita Sen, Chief Oil Market Analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. Where OPEC has made a mistake so far this year is that they cut production, but didnt cut exports by as much, said Sen. That meant producers were running down their own stockpiles, but having a lesser impact on their customers inventories. From the markets point of view, the only thing they care about is exports. The Saudi minister pushed to improve implementation of the production cuts from the nations already participating in the deal. Compliance dropped to 92 percent in June from 110 percent in May, according to people familiar with OPECs internal data. Iraq made just 28 percent of its pledged cuts. Some countries continue to lag in their compliance which is a concern we must address head on, Al-Falih said. Exports have now become the key metric for financial markets, and we need to find a way to reconcile credible export data with production data in our monitoring. The Joint Technical Committee — officials from Algeria, Kuwait, Venezuela, Oman and Russia who already monitor compliance with the cuts — will now also study data on exports, he said. With assistance by Angelina Rascouet

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July 25, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed


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