Russia Urges Calm After Libya Strongman It Backs Takes Oil Ports

17 Mar 2017   Libya

Russia urged restraint after a powerful Libyan military commander that it supports regained control of key oil facilities taken by forces loyal to the United Nations-backed government.  “We urge all the conflicting Libyan sides to show common sense and to refrain from the use of force to avoid the danger of escalation of civil conflict,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters in Moscow on Thursday.  Troops loyal to Khalifa Haftar, the eastern Libyan commander who’s in conflict with the UN-backed government in the capital, Tripoli, recaptured the country’s biggest port, Es Sider, and its third-largest, Ras Lanuf, on Tuesday after weeks of clashes that curbed oil production.  The fighting, including airstrikes, dealt a blow to international efforts to restore stability in the country that has Africa’s largest crude reserves. The ports had been seized by a rival group earlier this month that passed control of them to the government, which urged Haftar’s army not to bomb the oil facilities.

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