15:05 GMT20 February 2020
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    ROME (Sputnik) - Italy is concerned with the recent suspension of oil production in Libya caused by the ongoing conflict in the country, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

    "Italy is deeply concerned about the actions that lead to interruption of oil production and the work of oil terminals in Libya. We are talking about a developing situation which is already having grave consequences for Libya's economy and population. As the international efforts to determine a political solution to the crisis continue, Italy urges top reserve the integrity and neutrality of the NOC, the only company with a right to operate in the country", the Ministry said in a statement.

    Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said that Haftar's decision can affect the Libyan peace process to an extent no less than military action, calling for not only a ceasefire but also refraining from taking steps jeopardizing energy production in the country.

    Last weekend, the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) announced an emergency due to its inability to ship oil from five ports. According to the NOC, the shipping was stopped per the order of the Libyan National Army's Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

    For the past nine months, Haftar’s LNA has laid siege to the GNA in Tripoli in fighting that has left hundreds of civilians and thousands of fighters dead and displaced thousands of people. Haftar’s advance, however, has been stalled on the outskirts of the capital for months.

    A destroyed and burnt tank that belonged to the eastern forces led by Khalifa Haftar, is seen in Gharyan south of Tripoli
    © REUTERS / Ismail Zetouni
    A destroyed and burnt tank that belonged to the eastern forces led by Khalifa Haftar, is seen in Gharyan south of Tripoli

    Libya has been mired in a severe political crisis since a coup in 2011 that toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi. Two rival administrations have since then practically split the oil-rich country in two, with the Libyan National Army (LNA) controlling the east and the Government of National Accord (GNA) controlling the west.

    Tags:
    Khalifa Haftar, Libyan civil war, Libya
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