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Libya says could reach deal in 2-3 days to open oil ports

By Ulf Laessing and Feras Bosalum TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya could finalise an agreement in two to three days with rebels to reopen key oil ports, a government spokesman said on Wednesday, bolstering hopes for an end to an eight-month standoff that dried up petroleum revenue. Brent crude oil prices have fallen sharply since rebel leaders said their group would reach a deal within days to end the blockade of three ports that previously accounted for 600,000 barrels per day of Libyan crude exports.

East Libyan rebels to end oil port blockage within days: senior leader

By Feras Bosalum and Ulf Laessing TRIPOLI (Reuters) - A rebel group in eastern Libya has agreed with the government to end its seizure of vital oil ports within days, a senior leader told Reuters on Tuesday, raising hopes for an end to an eight-month stalemate that has dried up state income and fuelled chaos. There was no immediate comment from the Tripoli government which has been trying since summer to end the blockage of three eastern ports, which previously accounted for more than 600,000 barrels a day of oil exports.

Libya burns cash, halts projects to battle budget crisis

By Ulf Laessing TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya is burning through central bank reserves and scrapping infrastructure projects to overcome its worst budget crisis in decades after the seizure of oil installations by armed groups has reduced the government's income almost to zero. Oil exports - Libya's lifeline - fell to less than 100,000 barrels a day last week after militiamen shut down two large oilfields, compounding closures of ports in the east by rebel groups campaigning for regional autonomy.

Libyan fund sues France's SocGen for $1.5 bln: court papers

Libya's sovereign wealth fund is suing French bank Societe Generale in a British court for $1.5 billion (1.1 billion euros) for allegedly channelling bribes to allies of the son of slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi, officials said on Monday. The Libyan Investment Authority is seeking compensation from the bank and from Walid Giahmi, an alleged associate of Saif al-Islam Kadhafi, for what it says is money that it lost on trades between 2007 and 2009. Societe Generale denied the "unfounded" claims by the LIA, which was set up in 2006 to handle Libya's oil revenues.

SocGen facing bribery lawsuit over Libyan deals

(Reuters) - Libya's sovereign wealth fund has filed a $1.5 billion lawsuit against Societe Generale <SOGN.PA>, accusing it of funneling bribes worth tens of millions of dollars to associates of Saif al-Islam, the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. "Societe Generale contests the unfounded allegations in the Libyan Investment Authority's (LIA) complaint," a spokeswoman for France's second-biggest bank said in an emailed statement, without giving more details.

Libyan parliament passes law to organize new elections

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan lawmakers approved a new election law on Sunday, paving the way to call general elections later this year. Last month, the General National Congress (GNC) assembly agreed to hold early elections, in an apparent effort to assuage ordinary Libyans angry over political chaos in the country nearly three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Trapped at sea, tanker captain craved salvation from Libya rebels

By Ulf Laessing TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Pakistani sea captain Mirza Noman Baig knew he was trapped when dozens of fighters armed with rifles boarded his tanker just off a rebel-held port on Libya's coast. A militia from the country's restive east forced his crew to load oil onto Baig's vessel, the Morning Glory, and demanded they escape the navy before the ship was stormed by U.S. special forces on March 16, according to his account of events.

Libyan protesters block oil pipeline to Mellitah port as strikes widen

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan protesters have blocked a pipeline carrying oil condensates from the southwestern al-Wafa oilfield to the Mellitah export port, state-owned National Oil Corp (NOC) said on Thursday. The action, the latest in a wave of protests paralyzing oilfields and ports across the North African country, knocks out one of the last oil export lines for the cash-strapped government.

Small group of U.S. soldiers in Libya ahead of training mission

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The first two of an initial team of 11 U.S. soldiers arrived in Libya this week to help lay the groundwork for upcoming training of Libyan forces in Bulgaria, which is expected to begin in July, a U.S. military official told Reuters on Wednesday. The United States announced last year its plans to train 5,000 to 8,000 Libyan forces at the request of Tripoli, where a weak central government is struggling with rebels for control of vital petroleum resources three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya investigates top leader's questioning over visit by two women

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan authorities are investigating an incident, captured on video and circulated on Facebook, in which the country's most powerful man was grilled by an unknown questioner about why two women visited his house at night. The Attorney General's office said on Wednesday it was looking into the suspected wrongful arrest of the official, parliamentary president Nouri Abu Sahmain, but also into possible 'moral crimes'.
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