LONDON: Libya’s prime minister yesterday appealed to the outside world to help restore security, as it combats political chaos and tries to restart oil exports crippled by protesters at a cost of $130m a day in lost income.
Ali Zeidan met with his British counterpart David Cameron, who two years ago was a driving force behind a military campaign that helped topple Muammar Gaddafi and aimed to encourage a stable democracy in Libya.
That has yet to emerge. A combination of strikes, militias and political activists have blocked the majority of Libya’s oilfields and ports since end July but the government’s fledging army and police force are ill-equipped to deal with armed protesters.
“If the international community does not help in the collection of arms and ammunition, if we don’t get help in forming the army and the police, things are going to take very long,” Zeidan said at a Libya investment conference in London.
“The situation is not going to improve unless we get real and practical assistance.”
Zeidan and Cameron discussed reducing the supply of arms in Libya and reintergrating militia members into normal life, a British statement said.
Zeidan insisted that he still wanted to solve the crisis through dialogue rather than force.
“We are going to work on solving this problem,” he said. “When blood is shed, the loss will be greater”.
Tripoli has had some success with the restart of its biggest southwestern oilfield on Monday but the bulk of oil production in the east is still paralysed.
NOC was able to lift force majeure on its western ports of Zawiya and Mellitah as a result.