02:32 GMT07 May 2021
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    BENGHAZI (Sputnik) - Sheikh Senussi al-Haleeq, the deputy chairman of the Supreme Council of Libyan Sheikhs and Elders, told Sputnik in an interview that a great number of tribal young men were ready to engage in fighting if Turkey took over oil fields, controlled by the tribes.

    "We have a formidable number of young men ready to fight in the case of Turkish occupation of our lands. If they go for the oil fields, I assure you that they will head to training camps and we will wage a war on the oil fields. This is not a [preferred scenario] because I do not wish for the fields to be involved in political divisions or to drag the oil sector into the war because that will be harmful to the Libyans and to those who are our allies among the Europeans and Americans," Al-Haleeq said.

    Sheikh Senussi al-Haleeq confirmed that Libya was in talks with Egypt regarding the possibility for Cairo to train and arm Libyan tribes to repel Turkey's attacks.

    "Yes, it is true what the spokesperson said, but it is in an early stage. At the same time, we thank Egypt for its position and its history with us," Al-Haleeq said.

    No final agreement has been reached yet, but if any training takes place, it will certainly happen in Libya, the official specified.

    "Yes, there is coordination [between Libya and Egypt] on the mobilization side, which is continuing presently, but up until now, we have not specified the time or place for the training. At the same time, we are trying to escape the trap of spreading chaos into the oil fields. The special strike force has moved to increase the security of the fields and ports, and with them a large number of civilian tribesmen fighters," Al-Haleeq added, when asked about Egyptian-Libyan coordination on the training.

    Ahmed Huma, the second deputy speaker of Libya's east-based parliament, said that the legislature will convene to discuss Egypt's possible intervention. Huma has expressed the belief that the parliament will not allow Turkey's interference.

    Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi said earlier in June that the country had a legitimate right to intervene in Libya to counteract Turkish forces. Sisi also offered to help Libyan tribes repel Turkey's attacks. The speaker of the east-based Libyan parliament, Aguila Saleh, said that the legislature could officially ask Egypt to intervene if the Government of National Accord seized Sirte and the Al Jufta Airbase.

    Libyan Tribes Want Talks on Oilfield Relaunch to Be Conducted Under Russia’s Auspices

    Negotiations are underway to resume the oil production in Libya, Sheikh Senussi al-Haleeq said, adding that his authority would welcome Russia's sponsorship in the process.

    Last week, the Libyan National Army (LNA), which backs the Libyan tribes, has started to patrol oil reserves and ports in the country’s eastern part to protect the so-called oil crescent region from any attacks that could be launched by armed groups operating in the North African country.

    "Yes, [the oilfields and ports] are still closed, and we reaffirm it, but we are undoubtedly not happy with this closure. We hope that the settlement will be achieved via negotiations. Talks are underway to open these fields and ports and start the production process, and I hope that it will be under the auspices of Russia. I hope that Russia will play a major role in it," the deputy speaker said.

    The opening of the country’s oil reserves is the priority, but it can be only reached under certain conditions, al-Haleeq noted.

    "The main condition is the expulsion of the Turkish forces and mercenaries from Libya, and the second one is that money from oil [revenues] will be in the hands of those who we can be trusted to preserve it. The third term is a change in the leadership of the National Oil Corporation [NOC], because they were unfair, as was the Libyan Central Bank, which made the change. If the conditions, including changes in the NOC’s and Central Bank’s management and equal distribution of wealth among all of the three region …, are fulfilled, we will open all of the fields and ports," al-Haleeq added.

    However, if the international community or other Libyan parties do not take any measures on the matter, the tribes will continue to keep them shut, al-Haleeq said.

    The deputy head also expressed hope that financial resources coming from the oil production "will not go to the purchase of tanks, aircraft and rockets to destroy Libya and kill its people, as this has made us to stop the production process and shut down all fields and ports."

    In Libya, the confrontation between the LNA and its main rival – the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord – has practically split the oil-rich country into two parts.

    Earlier in the month, an armed group broke into the country’s largest Sharara oilfield and ordered its employees to shut down the oil production. In response, Libya’s NOC has condemned an incident in the strongest terms and said that it totally rejected any military presence within the company’s facilities. The incident came several days after the oilfield resumed operations following a four-month suspension.

    oil, Turkey, Egypt, Libya
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