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Defection of Libyan Oil Minister, Shukri Ghanem, Revolution Council Wants to be Represented in OPEC Meeting
Libyan rebels hope to attend OPEC meeting

France 24, May 19, 2011
Libyan rebels hope to attend OPEC meeting
Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council has said it wants to represent the country at a meeting of oil-producing countries in Vienna in June. The news follows reports that the chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation has defected.

By News Wires (text)


Libya's rebel National Transitional Council wants to represent the oil-rich country at June's OPEC meeting, spokesman Mahmud Shammam told AFP Wednesday, amid reports the oil minister has defected.

"We want to attend, and will study the legal procedure," said Shammam, media spokesman for the NTC.

"We still do not know if OPEC will invite us," he said.

Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem, who also chairs Libya's national oil company, left Libya over the weekend and entered into neighbouring Tunisia, a Tunisian official told AFP.

Ghanem had been due to travel to Vienna for the next meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries on June 8.
Shammam said that Ghanem was already in Vienna, but has not contacted the NTC.

"We have got confirmation from several sources that Shukri Ghanem is in his house in Vienna," he said.

"He has not been in touch with the NTC, and the council is not interested, nor in need for Mr. Ghanem, but we welcome defection by any official," he added.

Libya, a key crude-exporting nation that was producing some 1.7 million barrels a day (bpd) before the rebellion broke out in mid-February, has seen its output slashed since the revolt began.

According to the International Energy Agency, Libya's exports averaged 1.49 million bpd before the uprising, with 85 percent of that going to Europe.

The European Union last month added to its Libya sanctions list 26 energy firms accused of financing Kadhafi's regime, a move that Germany said amounted to a de facto oil and gas embargo.

A small number of export shipments have been made from rebel-held territory, delivered to market through Qatar Petroleum in an exemption to the sanctions.

But rebels controlling the east of the country said earlier this month they had no plans to resume significant oil exports as their current priority was to ensure oil installations were made secure.
Date created : 18/05/2011

Libya frees foreign reporters after weeks of detention

France 24, May 19, 2011

By News Wires (text)


The Libyan government released four foreign journalists on Wednesday after holding them for several weeks for illegally entering the country. They were each given a one-year suspended sentence and fined 200 dinars.

Libya freed four foreign reporters on Wednesday who had been charged with entering the country illegally and said it was hard for its army to distinguish between journalists and people working with rebels.

U.S. reporters Clare Gillis and James Foley, Spanish photographer Manu Brabo and British journalist Nigel Chandler were brought in front of other reporters at a news conference.

The four, who appeared tired but otherwise healthy, only spoke to confirm their names before retreating to a side room in the Tripoli hotel. They were given a one-year suspended jail sentence and each fined 200 dinars.

Spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said they could stay in Tripoli and keep reporting or be escorted to the Tunisian border.

Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi detained Brabo, Foley and Gillis on April 5 when they were reporting near the eastern oil town of Brega.

"This is war time," Ibrahim said. "We know that there are foreign, special, European army experts fighting with the rebels so the army do not know immediately that these people are journalists, that they are harmless."

"If anyone was mistreated then we extend our apologies."

Ibrahim said he had no information on another journalist, South African Anton Hammerli, who has been reported missing.

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