CAIRO (Reuters) – Five Western countries including the United States, as well as Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, support Libyan state oil firm NOC as the sole legitimate authority for the country’s energy sector, a joint statement said on Sunday.
The move came after the eastern Libyan parallel government allied to Khalifa Haftar appointed a parallel board last week for a local unit of NOC, a move seen by diplomats as attempt to break away from the Tripoli headquarters.
“For the sake of Libya’s political and economic stability, and the well-being of all its citizens we exclusively support the NOC,” the statement posted on the website of the U.S. Embassy for Libya said.
It was signed by the United States, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, the UAE and Turkey, it said.
Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) force has been trying to take Tripoli, home to the internationally recognised government, in an almost six-month military campaign.
Last week, NOC strongly condemned the appointment of a parallel board for an eastern unit of Brega Petroleum Marketing Co (BPMC) as an attempt to divide the country and set up an illegitimate entity to export oil.
NOC handles oil and gas exports for the whole country, although the LNA has tried before to take control of oil ports under its control.
Haftar’s forces have been backed by the UAE and Egypt, while the Tripoli forces are supported by Turkey, diplomats say.
(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Peter Cooney)