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Libyan Port Rebels Reject Elected Parliament, Honor Oil Deal

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

A group of rebels campaigning for autonomy in eastern Libya rejects the parliament set up by another armed group in Tripoli but will honor a deal to keep major oil ports open, a rebel spokesman said on Wednesday.

Libya's oil output has risen to 725,000 barrels a day, more than six times the level two months ago, after the rebels agreed with the central government to end a blockade of four oil ports in the east.

Since that deal, the OPEC producer has been thrown into turmoil as a rival group opposed to the government has occupied Tripoli and set up a rival parliament and cabinet in the capital, refusing to recognize the elected House of Representatives.

Rejects elected parliament

Ali Hasi, spokesman for the port rebels of Ibrahim Jathran, said his group rejected the new parliament, the General National Congress, convened by an alliance of armed groups from the western city of Misrata.

“We only recognize the elected House of Representatives, which represents all parts of the Libyan people,” he said.

But he said the group would not take any action and honor its part of the oil deal with the government. “We handed over the ports [to the government] and they are under its authority,” Hasi said.

In May the rebels had protested the election of a prime minister coming from Misrata, where many oppose the federalist rebels, and threatened to stage new protests.

The conflict between the two governments, parliaments and different groups takes place amid anarchy in Libya, where authorities are unable to control former rebels who helped topple Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 and now fight for power and a share of oil wealth.