Continental Focus, International Reach

GNA Calls for Firms to Fix Legal Status

Monday, May 13, 2019

Libya’s internationally recognized government, the Government of National Unity (GNA) have issued a grace period of three months for firms operating without licenses to fix their legal status. These firms include at least one oil and gas major.

The Ministry of Economy and Industry said in a decree that the firms, including French oil major Total, would be suspended as their licenses had expired. This was seen by some as a way to pressure the EU to stop an eastern military offensive against the capital of Tripoli.

The Ministry cited legal procedures, but the action comes as the Tripoli-based government seeks to drum up support to fend off an assault by Khalifa Haftar’s Libya National Army (LNA) force, which has been trying for one month to take the capital.

The decree was published a day after Tripoli Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, coming from Berlin and Rome, to bolster his case.

“Officially, those 40 licenses were scheduled to be expiring now,” he said. “In reality, the decree is motivated by a desire to show European states that their leniency towards the eastern-Libyan faction has immediate consequences on their economic interests.”