Update on Libya
On June 26th, the Government of National Accord (GNA) released a statement addressing what they call “the illegal procedures for the delivery of oil,” in response to the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) actions in the oil crescent region. Last week, the LNA, led by General Haftar, reclaimed oil fields in Ras Lanuf and Es-Sider, both originally under the GNA-the UN-backed government based in Tripoli. Following the siege of two of Libya’s most productive oil fields, the LNA gave a self-proclaimed branch of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) access to the fields. The internationally-recognized NOC is located in Tripoli, yet this parallel branch of the NOC is based in Benghazi- a LNA-stronghold. To bring greater attention to the conflict, the LNA stated that the government in Tripoli is the only legitimate Libyan government; called upon the UN Security Council to intervene by placing sanctions on those importing oil from Benghazi; condemned General Haftar and the LNA for their actions. One day after the GNA statement, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged for both the de-escalation of tensions and the return of natural resources, referencing UN Security Council resolution 2259 (2015). The European Union also addressed the conflict, stating that it would “continue to counter any attempt to trade Libyan oil outside the internationally recognized official channels.” Similarly, the United States, United Kingdom, France and Italy released a statement emphasizing the same plan.
In the midst of this oil crisis, Libya continues to be the backdrop for the influx and smuggling of migrants from across the region. As thousands of migrants attempt to flee their conflict-ridden countries, Libya becomes their transition home in hopes of reaching Europe one day. Heads of state representing EU members continue to meet to discuss not only how to address the smuggling of migrants but also migration policies and procedures to put in place on the European continent. Bearing in mind the conflicts centered on migrants and oil, Libya must be categorized as a higher priority for the international community.
By Morgan Bedford