Sanctions Against Parallel Institutions 'an Option'

By Padraig O'Hannelly.

Britain's Ambassador to Libya has said that the parallel economic institutions established in the East of the country threaten the long term economic regeneration of Libya, and should not be encouraged.

Addressing the UK's All Party Parliamentary Group on Foreign Affairs, Peter Millet said:

"We have made clear time and again ... that the three key economic institutions in the country -- the Central Bank, the National Oil Corporation and the Libyan Investment Authority -- should be regarded as technically capable institutions and not as political footballs.

"Therefore we do not want to see parallel institutions like the National Oil Corporation in Baida, which is trying to sell oil. We have consistently said that this is a bad move in terms of the long term economic regeneration of Libya, therefore it is in nobody's interest to encourage that to happen.

"I know the NOC [in the East] is still trying to ship oil. So far the oil trading companies are not prepared to go down that route. Similarly with the Central Bank and the LIA, we have to regard them as institutions which will be crucial to the future economic stability of Libya, and therefore regard them as technical rather than political ..."

Later in the meeting, which was Chaired by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne and facilitated by the Legatum Institute, the Ambassador mentioned the possibility of imposing sanctions against those involved if these parallel institutions continue after the formation of a unity government:

"The Security Council has made very clear … [that it supports] the unity and integrity of the National Oil Company, the Central Bank and the LIA ...

"Clearly if the parallel institutions continue after we have a Government of National Accord, there is a provision within the security council resolution ... to impose sanctions against those who pose obstacles to political transition.

"We want to use that sparingly, so no-one is actually talking about sanctions as far as these institutions [are concerned] at the moment, but it's an option which remains available to us."

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