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Russian diplomat says united government remains Libya’s priority

September 15, 2016, 15:19 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia urges both belligerent powers in Libya to act in accordance with peace agreements

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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

© Artiom Korotaev/TASS

MOSCOW, September 15. /TASS/. Redistributing the spheres of influence in Libya’s oil sector should not detract from finding a settlement to the conflict, nor from creating a single unified government in the country, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.

"The Libyan National Army under the command of General Khalifa Haftar has taken control of ports of the country’s Oil Crescent (Ras Lanuf, Al Sidr, Mersa Brega and Zueitna on the Gulf of Sidra coast) along the Mediterranean coast, where the bulk of Libya’s oil infrastructure is concentrated," including oil terminals, she said.

"We urge both belligerent powers in Libya - the authorities in Tripoli and their opponents - to act within the framework of the earlier reached agreements on parameters of national reconciliation," the diplomat said.

"We believe it is important to see that participants in the intra-Libyan process continue a constructive dialogue aimed at arriving at a consensus that must put an end to civil discord and put the country on a trajectory of a stable post-conflict growth," Zakharova added.

"The creation of a single government authority, which includes an army and police," remains a priority for Libya, she said. "They must be able to ensure security, law and order, as well as efficiently counter any terrorist threat," the diplomat added. "This is the desire and the primary goal not only of the Libyan people, but of the whole region of the Middle East and North Africa," she said.

On Sunday, units under General Haftar, subject to Libya’s House of Representatives (the parliament elected in the east) took control of all main ports of the Oil Crescent. Before the hostilities broke out in Libya three years ago, the country was the 12th biggest oil exporter in the world.

In 2011, when the February 17 Revolution started, it was producing 1.6 million barrels of oil a day. At the moment, oil production has plummeted to some 300,000 barrels a day.

After the start of the bloody conflict, many foreign energy companies had to scrap all operations in Libya. The ongoing conflict has dealt a serious blow to the country’s oil infrastructure. As a result of the oil sector’s standstill, Libya has incurred a loss of $100 billion alone in the past three years.

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