Libya suffers $5 billion losses from oil blockade

The National Oil Corporation said the blockade has caused an unprecedented decline in oil exports

Destroyed vehicles are seen outside a hangar at Al-Watiya airbase, which was seized by forces loyal to Libya's UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), southwest of the capital Tripoli, on May 18, 2020. Libya's UN-recognised government scored another battlefield victory Monday against strongman Khalifa Haftar, capturing the key rear base used by his fighters in a conflict now in its second year. Haftar, who controls swathes of eastern Libya, launched an offensive in April last year against the capital Tripoli, seat of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). / AFP / Mahmud TURKIA
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Libya's cumulative losses from the current oil blockade imposed by forces allied to eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar since January have neared $5 billion, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said in a statement on Thursday.

The state-run NOC said the blockade caused an unprecedented decline in oil exports, and the country’s revenues are not enough to cover 10 per cent of the salaries.

The Libyan National Army led by Field Marshal Haftar and forces aligned with the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli have been fighting since April last year for control of the capital.

The military tide has been reversed in recent weeks, and his forces lost several towns and a key airbase.

Field Marshal Haftar's side controls the country’s east and most of the south, while the GNA controls areas in the west, including Tripoli.

On Saturday, he had vowed to continue fighting.

In a two-minute audio speech addressed to his forces, he said they “will fight and fight” against “Turkish colonialism”.

Turkey is aiding the embattled government in Tripoli. It has recently stepped up its military support with armoured drones, air defences and Syrian mercenaries with links to extremist groups.

US President Donald Trump has called for a "rapid de-escalation" of the Libyan conflict on a call with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday.