News / Middle East

Threat Issued in Libyan Oil Export Dispute

Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan speaks during a news conference in Tripoli, Mar. 8, 2014.
Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan speaks during a news conference in Tripoli, Mar. 8, 2014.
Edward Yeranian
Leaders of eastern Libya's self-declared autonomous region of Barqa declared Saturday that they had begun exporting oil from the port of Sidra and would share revenues with the central government in accordance with a 1951 constitution. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan told journalists later that government authorities have warned a North Korean-flagged oil tanker to leave Libyan waters or face attack.

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan repeated an official warning to a North Korean-flagged oil tanker Saturday afternoon to “leave Libyan waters” or face attack.

He said that the North Korean tanker, bearing the name Morning Glory, entered the Libyan port of Sidra, breaking international law, and was warned to leave or face attack. He stressed that the ship has said it would like to leave, but is being forced by militiamen to load crude.

Zeidan indicated that his government hoped to resolve the crisis “as soon as possible” but that a government attack on the ship “would create an ecological disaster.” He added that “orders for the ship to leave were not carried out by the army,” due to an internal conflict.

He said that the Libyan Army chief of staff was refusing to accept orders from the defense minister or from the government, making it impossible to make the army take action.

Reuters news agency reported that militiamen in the port of Sidra had overseen the loading of the North Korean oil tanker. The ship has reportedly been in Libyan territorial waters since Tuesday. Militia leader Ibrahim Jadran in nearby Ajdabiya is reportedly behind the tug-of-war.

Leaders of the eastern separatist region of Barqa, who have declared autonomy from Libya's central government several times since 2012, told journalists that they endorsed the export of oil, which they claim as a right under a 1951 constitution dividing the country into 3 regions.

Abdrabou al-Barassi, the self-styled “prime minister” of the Braqa region insisted that his region would continue oil exports and would not accept threats from the central government.

He said that his region would not accept any threats with respect to ships or tankers dealing with it. He claimed that he was not making any threats and did not want to use force, but that his region was claiming its rights and warned against any attack.

Al-Barassi went on to argue that his region was “protecting the oil wealth of all Libyans,” and that it would “return 15 percent of revenues to the central government,” in accordance with an old arrangement under the regime of King Idriss al-Senoussi, who was deposed in 1969.

Another separatist official, Sheikh Mabreik al-Lawati, urged Western governments to buy oil from his region.

He said that his region has opened the spigots to export oil both from the port of Sidra and from another port in Tobruk and is urging Western nations like Britain, France, the U.S., Italy and Germany to buy this oil.

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones tweeted Saturday from a conference on Libya in Istanbul that “purchase of oil within Libya from anyone other than [government] entities amounts to theft from the Libyan people.” Libya's acting oil minister Omar Shakmak called the attempt to export oil from Sidra “an act of piracy.”

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: meanbill from: USA
March 09, 2014 12:08 PM
MY OPINION? .... The biggest threat to the 6 million Libyan people and their oil and gas is, WHEN will the US and EU countries invade Libya again, for the sole purpose of taking possession of the European and Saudi Oil and Gas company interests..
Libya must nationalize the Libyan oil and gas companies, for their country and people, to finally find peace for their really small population.......... REALLY

March 08, 2014 10:30 PM
This is the gift of NATO to Libyan Peoples. This is their main aim to create problems,suffering and endless tears to common people in the name of Liberty,freedom and democracy. Now no Western country will come to solve safety and security problems,water,electricity,education,business and so many other problems.Now they will smile with the pain and suffering of common people. West should conduct survery whether common Libyans were happy,secure and hopeful with Guddafi OR they are happy with current Govt with no power and control over day to day issue.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs