FILE - Libyan Minister of Interior at Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) Fathy Bashagha – Reuters
CAIRO – 4 November 2020: Libyan Minister of Interior at Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) Fathy Bashagha pays Cairo a state visit – the first since he took office in October 2020 - on Wednesday to meet a number of Egyptian officials.
Sources told Youm7 that the minister will discuss combating terrorism; dismantling of armed militias and the possibility of integrating them into the Libyan Armed Forces, police and security agencies; deportation of foreign mercenaries; and, not allowing any Islamist or any person who adopts Islamist ideas to reach the rule in Libya. That is in light of the popular rejection of such movements and extremist ideas.
In October, Egypt had hosted talks among Libyan factions in Hurghada before they signed a permanent ceasefire agreement in Geneva. However, the agreement was met by rejection from a number of armed formations affiliated to the GNA.
Resumption of Oil Production
On October 26, the Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation (NOC) resumed the operation of Al Fil Oil Field as well as all oil fields and ports. The NOC stated that production was expected to hit 800,000 bpd within two weeks.
On October 11, the NOC declared the resumption of the operation of Al Sharara oil field located southwestern the country lifting force majeure. The field operated by the Akakus Oil Operations (AOO) produces the third of Libya's oil production. The Libya Observer reported that Al Sharara is expected to produce 40,000 bpd.
The NOC's decision follows an agreement with Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar that the Petroleum Facilities Guard would eliminate all impediments and ensure the absence of any security breaches.
The reserves of Al Sharara are estimated at three billion barrels, according to Sky News Arabia.
Talks among Libyan factions on the security measures necessary to resume oil production were held early in October in Egypt's Hurghada.
On September 18, Haftar declared that all oil facilities across Libya would resume operations. It is noted that the major oil fields and ports lie in the territories held by the LNA.
Spokesperson of the LNA Ahmed al-Mesmary had stated that consultations took place between the representatives of the LNA and Member of Libya's Presidential Council Ahmed Maitiq, as reported by Sky News Arabic. They agreed on forming a technical committee that supervises the oil revenues and the fair distribution of resources. Maitiq said that the committee's work will last for three months.
Libyan tribes announced the closure of oil ports and fields in January as the revenues were used by the GNA to pay militants. Early in July, the tribes declared that oil facilities would resume operations. However, the LNA announced on July 11 that such facilities would remain closed until the demands of the Libyan people on dismantling militias are fulfilled. The NOC announced that the value of revenues lost until present is $8.2 billion.
Turkish Military Intervention and Foreign Mercenaries
On October 11, sources told Sky News Arabia that Turkey had withdrawn 1,500 Syrian mercenaries and instead sent hundreds of Turkish soldiers.
CAIRO - 11 October 2020: The ambassadors of the European Union and a number of European countries told Saturday Libyan Interim Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj that the maritime borders demarcation MoU he had signed with Turkey in December "infringes upon the sovereign rights of third states, does not comply with the law of the Sea, and cannot produce any legal consequences for third states," as indicated in a statement released by the EU Commission.
In December 2019, Turkey signed with the GNA two MoUs on defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.
The LNA spokesperson had stated early in July that Turkey has transported into Libya 25,000 mercenaries. Those include 17,000 Syrian militants, 2,500 Tunisians who fought in the ranks of the Islamic State (IS) in Idlib and Aleppo, and other nationalities including the Sudanese.
Turkey has also sent 2,500 – 3,000 officers and military experts to co-command the operations rooms of the GNA militias and to pilot drones from mainly Tripoli's Mitiga Airbase. The LNA downed around 70 Turkish drones as they were targeting its concentrations.
The LNA announced downing on July 23 a Turkish reconnaissance plane west of the Libyan city of Sirte, which is currently controlled by LNA forces.
On July 22, the LNA warned Turkey against approaching the Libyan coast, threatening to target any hostile naval vessels in the Libyan waters.
The LNA's commander of mobilization unveiled July 25 that Syrian mercenaries transported by Turkey are being turned into police forces by the Ministry of Interior affiliated to the GNA.
The Libyan Armed Forces restored Sirte in January, and was advancing in the outskirts of Misrata and Tripoli. However, early in June, it lost Al Watiyah and Tarhouna, which was its last stronghold western the country, retreating into Sirte and Al Jufrah.