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Egypt expresses support for Libyan oil terminal seizure

General Khalifa Haftar's forces have seized key oil terminals from government loyalists [AFP]

Date of publication: 16 September, 2016

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The Egyptian government praised Libya's controversial General Haftar days after the UN and Western nations called on his forces to withdraw from the seized terminals.
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry expressed support on Friday for the Libyan National Army [LNA] and its controversial leader General Haftar Khalifa, days after they seized key oil terminals from forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed government. 

"Egypt fully supports the Libyan army's moves to maintain security and stability of Libya and to secure its oil wealth," Shoukry told Egypt's state-owned Middle East News Agency.

The LNA seized control of four major oil terminals on Wednesday - in Ras Lanuf, al-Sidra, Zueitna and Brega - from the UN-backed Government of National Unity [GNA].

The GNA blasted the moves as acts of "flagrant aggression" against Libyan sovereignty. The terminals - two of which are located in Libya's 'oil crescent' - were seen as means of generating funds for Tripoli's cash-strapped government.

The attacks prevented Libya's first major oil shipment in years.

Egypt's message of support for the LNA's actions comes days after the UN and Western nations condemned the actions against the Tripoli-based government.

The head of the UN's Support Mission in Libya said on Monday that the attacks "further threaten the stability and lead to a greater division of the country. They further restrict the oil exports and add to people's suffering," adding that the GNA is the only legitimate power in the country.

France,  Germany Spain, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States released a joint condemnation of the seizures and called for an immediate withdrawal of Haftar's forces without conditions. 

In response, Shoukry told the MENA agency that the Western condemnations were "overhasty".

Egypt's government under general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has voiced support for Haftar's military force on numerous occasions.

In August, the president reiterated his support for Haftar and Libya's house of representatives because, according to the state-owned al-Ahram newspaper, they represent "the will of the people".

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