Libyan Prime Minister Sarraj welcomes the election decision, as the UN says ongoing efforts to secure oil fields

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Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj welcomed the decision by the country’s warring parties to hold elections in December 2021, while the UN representative in the country said efforts were underway to secure the war-torn country’s oil fields.

Sarraj said in a statement that he was pleased that the election date was set for December 24, 2021 and the country’s election commission would set aside funds to conduct them.

The agreement was reached during UN-sponsored talks in Tunisia between representatives of the internationally recognized Libyan government and Putchist general Khalifa Haftar.

The 75-member Libyan delegation has set the date for the election but could not agree on the constitution and assign responsibility for the transition period.

According to the Anadolu Agency (AA), the pro-Haftar delegation insists that Aguila Saleh, Speaker of the Putin General Khalifa Haftar’s self-proclaimed Libyan parliament, be the next president of the Presidency, while GNA opposes it.

At the same time, the 5 + 5 Military Committee’s talks have been going on at the same time.

Talks have focused on the withdrawal of foreign mercenaries loyal to warlord Haftar from the Sirte-Jufra region.

The Libyan army has been skeptical of the talks due to the movement of militias in the areas, AA reported.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Stephanie Williams said on Monday that efforts are underway to unite the security forces of the country’s oilfield facilities.

Williams told local journalists that a security force would protect a Libyan oil field that will resume production next year as a pilot project to protect the country’s oil fields.

She said the UN supports oil companies that contribute to oil production in Libya by respecting the country’s sovereignty.

The President of the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC), Mustafa Sanallah, clarified that securing and protecting the oilfield facilities will be carried out by two existing forces along with a new protection force that will operate under the NOC’s command.

The facilitation of a blockade by Haftar’s militias, which had reduced production by more than 90% to about 100,000 barrels per day (bpd), has seen production recover to about 500,000 bpd. The Tripoli-based National Accord Government (GNA) expects it to double by the turn of the year.

But after years of repeated shutdowns, damage to infrastructure and lack of investment, a return to the country’s capacity before 1.6 million bpd seems far-fetched.

On November 3, the Libyan Joint Military Commission (5 + 5) in Ghadames in southwestern Libya agreed to put in place mechanisms to carry out a permanent ceasefire reached on October 23.

On November 9, intra-Libyan talks were held in Tunisia under UN sponsorship where the rival parties agreed on a permanent ceasefire. Talks have been postponed until next week due to a lack of consensus on who will lead the transition process.

The participants agreed to set up a new presidential council and executive body to handle the transition period and hold national elections, according to Williams.

The country’s new government was formed in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by Haftar’s forces.

With Turkey’s help, GNA made significant gains against Haftar’s forces in recent months.

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