By Walid Abdullah
TRIPOLI, Libya (AA) – A Libyan military commander on Saturday rejected a deal announced by eastern warlord Khalifa Haftar and Ahmed Maiteeq, the Vice-President of the Libyan Presidential Council, on the resumption of oil production after an 8-month hiatus.
“I reject Haftar-Maiteeq deal on the oil production,” Maj. Gen. Osama Juili, the commander of the Western Military Zone, told the private Libya Al-Ahrar TV.
“Any unannounced agreement will be doomed to failure,” Juili said, adding that he will wait to see the reactions of members of the Presidential Council and the Tobruk-based parliament over the deal.
On Friday, Haftar said that his militia will let the oil production resume after an 8-month blockade. Maiteeq, for his part, said a committee would be formed to ensure fair distribution of oil revenues.
Shortly after Haftar’s announcement, his spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said an agreement has been reached with Maiteeq.
Libyan local media said that the Haftar-Maiteeq deal was reached in the Russian capital Moscow.
There was no comment from the Tripoli-based Libyan government on the announcement.
Libya’s National Oil Corporation estimates that the blockade imposed the oil facilities has cost Libya $10 billion in losses. The NOC has rejected any “politicization of the oil sector”.
Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The Government of National Accord (GNA) was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by forces loyal to Haftar.
Diplomatic efforts have been underway in recent weeks to reach a solution to the Libyan conflict following victories by the Libyan Army against Haftar’s militias.
*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara