UN says Libya reaches permanent cease-fire deal

Benjamin Harvey October 23, 2020

(Bloomberg) --Warring parties in Libya have reached a permanent cease-fire agreement across the entire country, the United Nations said.

The rivals had planned to continue military talks in Geneva until Oct. 24, one of three tracks being pursued with the aim of ending nearly a decade of conflict in the OPEC member.

Libya has been wracked by violence since a NATO-backed revolt ousted leader Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011. Repeated previous efforts over recent years to broker a lasting agreement between Fayez al-Sarraj’s government and eastern commander Khalifa Haftar had faltered.

“The 5+5 Joint Military Commission talks in Geneva today culminated in a historic achievement where Libyan parties reached a permanent ceasefire agreement,” according to a statement by the UN Support Mission in Libya. “This achievement marks an important turning point towards achieving peace and stability in Libya.”

A blockade of many of the country’s energy facilities ended last month, and the state energy firm has been ramping up production faster than many analysts expected.

Output reached 560,000 barrels a day on Wednesday, a person with knowledge of the matter said, up from 150,000 in September. If the truce sticks, production could reach 1 million barrels a day by March, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Before the shutdowns in January, Libya had ambitious plans to raise output to 1.5 million barrels a day this year and more than 2 million by 2024. Those targets look more challenging now, given the dilapidated state of the nation’s oil infrastructure.

Still, further increases in Libyan production are sure to rattle OPEC and its allies such as Russia and Mexico. In light of the country’s civil war, OPEC+ exempted it from supply cuts that the coalition enacted in May to boost oil prices.

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