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Libyan Factions Agree in Principle on Unified Oil Structure

FILE - A general view of Libya's Marsa el-Hariga port in Tobruk, east of Benghazi.
FILE - A general view of Libya's Marsa el-Hariga port in Tobruk, east of Benghazi.

Rival factions have agreed in principle to have one oil organization for strife-torn Libya, the foreign minister in the new U.N.-backed, national unity government said on Tuesday.

The West is counting on the unity government to gradually end armed anarchy in the OPEC member state, tackle Islamic State militants and stop new flows of migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe, though the new leaders still lack effective control over the capital city Tripoli.

"These institutions can only be managed centrally. That's why it was agreed that both institutions from east and west be united, so that there is only one oil company, one investment company and one central bank," Foreign Minister Mohammed Siyala told reporters in Vienna.

"The first steps to achieve this are being taken now, there is an agreement on the basic points and principles and now we're waiting for the implementation."

Libya, an OPEC member, will resume oil shipments from the port of Marsa el-Hariga after a deal reached at talks in Vienna between rival oil officials representing the east and west of the country, Libyan oil sources said on Monday.

Exports from Marsa el-Hariga have been blocked for two weeks due to a standoff between the rival national oil corporations in the east and west of the vast OPEC member state.

Asked on Tuesday about the time frame for the first oil exports, Siyala said: "You know that sanctions against Libya existed... Now it's up to us. There is already a shipment from the official ports and with international agreement and under international rules and I believe that oil exports, be they from the eastern or western ports, will return to what they used to be."

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