In a development that could reignite tensions between Libya’s rival governments, Khalifa Haftar, the de facto leader of the country’s eastern region, has called for a fair distribution of oil revenues. Haftar issued a deadline of the end of August for this demand to be met, suggesting that failure to reach an agreement could result in serious consequences. Haftar has previously threatened to impose an armed blockade on oil exports.
During an address to his troops in Rajma, located 25 km east of Benghazi, Haftar emphasized the need to establish a commission responsible for implementing financial arrangements. The distribution of oil revenues, which constitute Libya’s primary source of income, has long been a contentious issue between the opposing factions.
Currently, the National Oil Company and the Central Bank, both based in Tripoli, manage the country’s oil revenues. In 2022, Libya’s oil revenues reached $22.01 billion, underscoring their critical importance to the nation’s economy.
Since 2011, Libya has been marred by divisions between the eastern and western regions, each hosting parallel governments. While the United Nations recognizes the administration in Tripoli, tensions persist between the two factions. It is worth noting that Libya is home to Africa’s largest oil reserves.
Haftar’s recent call highlights the ongoing challenges that confront Libya’s political landscape. The resurfacing tensions raise questions about whether the rival governments can reach a consensus on the equitable distribution of oil revenues before the August deadline, thereby avoiding potential repercussions that Haftar has alluded to. Resolving this issue is crucial for fostering stability and economic prosperity in the war-torn nation.