Libya’s internationally-recognised government has suspended the country’s United Nations representative, government spokesperson Hatem Oraibi said on Thursday.
Ibrahim Dabbashi, who was first appointed to the UN role in 2009 under ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi, had been part of the team behind an UN-brokered peace deal signed on 17 December to form a national unity government and end an 18-month civil war.
But the Council of Ministers took the decision to temporarily relieve him of his duties after they claimed he prevented the eastern-based National Oil Corporation (NOC) from obtaining international recognition.
The NOC – that manages purchase and sale of oil and gas across the country – was originally based in Tripoli but split after last summer’s take over of the capital by armed coalition Libya Dawn.
The internationally-recognised parliament and government, forced to operate in the east of the country, formed a new NOC based in Tobruk – feeling that the authority in Dawn territory would not direct funds to their ministries. Tobruk – located some 1500km from Tripoli – is the current temporary home of the interim authorities and under their control.
The presence of two oil authorities has sparked international confusion and the government has been trying to convince global oil companies to continue their contracts with the eastern branch.
Dabbashi was accused by NOC head Naji Maghrebi of obstructing these efforts by the eastern NOC to sign deal with oil traders and assist the sale of crude oil. After the complaint was raised, the ministers took the decision to suspend the career diplomat.