Eastern Libya ports controlled by commander Khalifa Haftar, who is trying to seize the capital Tripoli, are shutting down oil exports, slashing national crude output by more than half and ramping up tensions ahead of a summit in Germany to discuss the country’s conflict.
The dramatic move came as Germany and the United Nations try to persuade Haftar and his foreign backers at the Berlin summit on Sunday to halt his nine-month campaign to take Tripoli, seat of the internationally recognized government.
Tribesmen in areas controlled by Haftar’s Libya National Army (LNA) faction on Friday stormed the eastern Zueitina oil export port and announced the closure of all terminals under LNA control.
LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari later told reporters that the “Libyan people” had closed the oil ports. A source in state oil company NOC said the LNA and an eastern oil protection force had ordered the closure of the ports. The oil protection force confirmed exports had been stopped.