TRIPOLI - Libya's oil protection force is not in full control of the Zueitina port as some militiamen are still at the facility following a deal to end their blockade of eastern oil terminals, a Petroleum Facilities Guard spokesman said late on Tuesday.
The port, along with the country's two largest, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, has been under the control of an eastern federalist group led by former guard member Ibrahim al-Jathran, who recruited men from within his ranks.An end to the nine-month standoff, which has crippled the OPEC member's economy, is finally within Tripoli's grasp, but initial reopenings could face hiccups and delays.
A deal was brokered over the weekend to reopen two of the small blocked ports, and while workers have been allowed entry, the former Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) members that followed Jathran are still there, hoping to rejoin the force that they deserted.
"His militia are still there (at Zueitina), but they agreed to open. We are not happy with that. We need to be 100 percent in control," the PFG spokesman said.
"They are letting workers back in. ... But we want to make sure that they (militiamen) are gone; we don't trust the old ones."
The spokesman added that negotiations were ongoing and the former guards could be rehired and potentially relocated but government forces needed to re-establish their control first.
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