GNA Vice President Reveals Oil Agreement Details

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Ahmed Maiteeq, Vice President of the Government of National Accord (GNA), revealed in an interview with French magazine ‘Jeune Afrique’, the details of the agreement to resume Libya’s oil production.

The magazine said that Maiteeq distinguished himself on the Libyan and international scene. He announced on 18 September, that he had concluded an agreement to restart oil production with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s son, Khaled in Moscow. According to Maiteeq, this deal was prepared in advance with the eastern-based Interim Government’s Minister of Finance, Kamal Al-Hassi. After months of blockade, on 20 September the National Oil Company (NOC), lifted the state of force majeure on the oil fields and ports deemed to be safe.

While the deal resulted in the resumption of production and exports, it has still not been validated by GNA Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj. The PM announced his resignation on 16 September, and is expected to leave his position at the end of October.

Regarding the possibilities of reaching a political solution, Maiteeq said “In politics there is no perfect solution that everyone can agree on. We must now create a new constitution, and hold presidential and parliamentary election. Before this stage, we must find an immediate solution to the economic problems that the population faces. After years of conflict, Libyans have paid the price, suffering from power cuts, inflation, devaluation of the dinar, and a lack of basic goods.” Maiteeq pointed out that: “Several political initiatives were launched simultaneously by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (USMIL), Morocco, and the High Council of State (HCS).” He added: “I will support all the solutions proposed by the UN in Geneva, but in my opinion, the proposed solutions will not meet the needs of Libyans today.”

In response to a question about whether there was a dispute with PM Al-Sarraj, who publicly rejected the deal, Maiteeq denied any disagreement. He explained that “Al-Sarraj is the Head of the Presidency Council, and I am one of his deputies; the deputies have wide powers in the council. To this day we are still in discussion, but Al-Sarraj is not against the deal, and he is satisfied with the reopening of the oil fields, which will help solve the economic crisis in the country. As for the NOC, it is an institution subject to government supervision, and it shall abide by the government’s decisions.”

On the implications of the agreement, and relationship with Haftar, Maiteeq said: “This is an economic agreement not a political one, but, I had to negotiate with the people who control the east. I spoke with Al-Hassi and Khalifa Haftar, who remains the person in control of the oil fields, and terminals.” Maiteeq stressed the need to “freeze oil revenues, until the government is unified and a political solution is found. These revenues will always be transferred to the account managed by the Libyan Foreign Bank (LFB), under the supervision of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL), in accordance with the National Financial Law.”

The Deputy emphasized that, “There are no arrangements regarding the distribution of oil resources, because our agreement is based on unifying the budgets of Tripoli and Benghazi. We agreed with the Minister of Finance to form a committee to test this budget within three months. The Presidential Council will appoint some of its members, and representatives from the East will do the same.”