The standoff between Libya’s internationally recognized government in the eastern port city of Baida and the unofficial administration of the General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli continues to prove intractable. UN-sponsored talks finally led to an agreement last weekend on the formation of a unity government. But the GNC was absent from the talks.

Meanwhile, a decision by the GNC-backed National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Tripoli to lift force majeure on two of the country’s largest oil export terminals, at Ras Lanuf and Es Sider – the key outlets for the country’s Sirte Basin oil production heartland – has been challenged by Baida. The eastern government says that any vessels attempting to load will be viewed as committing piracy. Adding to the confusion the ports themselves appear to be under the control of neither government. (CONTINUED - 2560 WORDS)