Crunch Time for the Libyan Government

Libya declared force majeure on oil exports from the ports of Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Zueitina and Brega on Monday, suspending its contractual obligations following weeks of strikes.

While there was some grounds for optimism as a result of the re-opening of the port at Marsa al Hariga, the situation is becoming ever more serious, with revenues lost now approaching 2 billion dollars.

The government has to tread a fine line, balancing the imperatives of getting the oil flowing again and preventing an escalation of the unrest; although he has threatened to use force, the tragic situation in Egypt can't be far from Prime Minister Ali Zeidan's mind.

Few would envy the government's position, especially as it faces its own internal problems and the resignation of another minister.

And while Mr Zeidan was correct in saying that Libya needs to work on its image and renew its reputation with foreign states, it can only do this credibly by solving the practical problems that it faces.

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