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article imageOp-Ed: UN envoy Kobler condemns attempt to illegally export oil

By Ken Hanly     Apr 27, 2016 in World
Tobruk - In a recent news release, Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary General, said he is deeply concerned by recent incursions of the Islamic State into the Libyan oil crescent region and attacks on oil fields.
Kobler said in his release: “The attacks of the so called Islamic States and its intention to control vital strategic areas are a serious threat to Libya’s oil installations. It constitutes a grave assault not only on the lifeline of Libya’s national economy, but on the very livelihoods of millions of ordinary Libyans, many of who are already enduring hardship as a consequence of the ongoing political and military conflict in Libya." Kobler noted the statement of the GNA's Presidency Council requesting the necessary measures to safeguard the oil fields and terminals.
Surprisingly, Kobler does not mention the reported movement of a number of units of the Libyan National Army (LNA) and militia from Misrata towards Sirte. One would think he would be applauding such moves. He makes no mention of the large shipment of vehicles and ammunition received by commander of the LNA, Khalifa Haftar, either. He also makes no mention of the recent call by the State Council to attack the Islamic State. The Council is no doubt worried that areas now controlled by the Islamic State will fall under control of Haftar and the eastern HoR government rather than the GNA.
Kobler does say:“I call on all security actors to respect the authority of the Presidency Council over Libya’s natural resources.” He also refers to UN Security Council resolution 2278, condemning any illicit attempts to illicitly export crude oil from Libya "including by parallel institutions which are not acting under the authority of the Government of National Accord." He said that it is the primary responsibility of the Government of National Accord to take appropriate action to prevent the illicit export crude oil. So far the only action taken against the tanker with the oil is to deny it landing rights in Malta. In an earlier attempt by the tanker Morning Glory to sell oil outside the Tripoli-based NOC, the U.S. intercepted the ship and it was returned to Tripoli. Kobler says nothing about the conflict between Haftar and Ibrahim Jodhran the head, or former head, of the Petroleum Forces Guard(PFG). Ironically, Jodhran facilitated the Morning Glory shipment. There are a number of reports indicating that Jodhran was replaced, including this tweet: " Eastern government (Thini) sack Ibrahim Jathran and name a new commander for Oil Facilities Guard." Jadhran, unlike Haftar, had approved the GNA and was going to cooperate with the Tripoli-based National Oil Company. Has all that changed now? Kobler has nothing to say on this crucial issue.
Finally, Kobler says nothing about when and where there will be another meeting of the HoR to vote confidence in the GNA. Up until recently, this has been of the utmost urgency but now does not deserve a mention. Is something different being planned? On what matters most, Kobler is silent when it suits him.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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