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Libyan leader under pressure to step down

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By The Associated Press
Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, 5:54 p.m.
 

TRIPOLI, Libya — Libya's prime minister heard increasing calls for his ouster on Saturday as strikes by government employees at oil export terminals cost the North African country more than $5 billion.

Bilqasim Shindeer el-Shibany, a board member of Libya's National Oil Corp., said oil exports almost entirely have stopped. Late last month, officials said exports were about 300,000 barrels per day, down dramatically from pre-war levels in early 2011.

Adding to the government's woes, the capital, Tripoli, has been hit with water cuts for three days and electricity outages for the past few months that last for about four hours daily.

Prime Minister Ali Zidan has struggled to rein in the combustible mix of tribal feuds, disgruntled employees and renegade militias fueling the crisis.

The nation's nascent police and army have been unable to secure the country since the eight-month-long civil war in 2011 that toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The closure of onshore oil facilities has driven down production to just 130,000 barrels per day, Libya's Deputy Oil Minister Omar el-Shakmak told reporters last week.

An official of National Oil Corp. said that figure had risen slightly by the end of the week to 150,000 barrels per day, less than 10 percent of its pre-war levels. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Libya was producing 1.6 million barrels of oil per day under Gadhafi and was exporting about 1.2 million barrels daily.

 

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