Weekly Digest – Libya (13th October 2020)

Weekly Highlights

  • Tripoli authorizes reopening of mosques
  • Libya reopens its biggest oil field, giving OPEC+ a new headache
  • Seven Indian workers kidnapped in September are safe and well, Indian Foreign Ministry reveals
  • Libya in $380m dispute with Zambia over Zamtel takeover 
  • Libyan National Army calls for disbanding militias before political process
  • Currency Exchange:
    • Bank exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 1.3727
    • Black market exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 6.12

Tripoli authorizes reopening of mosques

Mosques reopened in and around the Libyan capital Friday almost seven months after they were ordered to close as part of strict curbs to rein in the Covid-19 pandemic.  Libya has seen a surge in contaminations since its first coronavirus case in March.  According to the latest official figures, there have been more than 41,000 confirmed cases of the virus and 621 deaths in Libya, a country of less than seven million people. The UN-recognised Government of National Accord based in the capital Tripoli authorised the reopening of mosques, but with conditions.  THE NORTH AFRICA JOURNAL

Libya reopens its biggest oil field, giving OPEC+ a new headache

Libya took a major step toward reviving its battered oil industry by reopening its biggest field, presenting a new headache for OPEC+ as the alliance of major producers tries to curb global supplies.  The National Oil Corp., Libya’s state energy company, lifted force majeure on the western deposit of Sharara and instructed its operator to resume production, according to a statement on Sunday. The field will initially pump 40,000 barrels of crude a day, before reaching its capacity of almost 300,000 barrels in 10 days, a person with knowledge of the situation said.  That would roughly double Libya’s overall output to about 600,000 barrels daily, said the person, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak to media.  YAHOO FINANCE

Seven Indian workers kidnapped in September are safe and well, Indian Foreign Ministry reveals

Seven Indian workers were kidnapped on 14 September on their way to Tripoli airport from Shwerif, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) revealed Thursday. Shwerif is located 417 km south of Tripoli on the main road to the south and about halfway to Sebha.  In its statement the Indian MEA said, “Seven Indian nationals, hailing from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, were kidnapped at a place called Asshwerif in Libya on 14 September. They were working at a construction and oil field supplies company and were kidnapped on their way to the Tripoli airport to catch a flight to India.”  It added that “the employer has been contacted by the kidnappers and shown photographs as proof that the Indian nationals were safe and keeping well. LIBYA HERALD

Libya in $380m dispute with Zambia over Zamtel takeover 

Libyan telecoms investor LAP GreenN is threatening to seize Zambia’s international assets because it says the government owes it US$380 million.  The debt dates back to Zambia’s nationalisation of Zamtel in 2012, a year after LAP GreenN bought the company from the previous administration for $257 million.  Faisel Gergab, chairman of the Libyan Post Telecommunications & Information Technology Company, a holding company that manages Libya’s telecoms assets, said the company has found itself forced to assess other options to claim the debt it says Zambia owes.  CAPACITY MEDIA

Libyan National Army calls for disbanding militias before political process

The Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has reiterated its conditions for a political settlement with Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA), including disbanding militias.  During a meeting, GNA’s Presidential Council asserted the necessity of resuming the political, security and economic process in line with the Berlin Conference outcomes.  The conferees assessed the world’s stance from the Libyan crisis and discussed measures to enhance the performance of public services and the efforts exerted to fight the coronavirus pandemic. However, Director of LNA’s Moral Guidance Department Brigadier General Khaled al-Mahjoub stated that militias must be disbanded, and mercenaries must be expelled.  AAWSAT


List of holidays in Libya 2020

Exchange rates – Libyan Dinar

According to our most recent information (08th October 2020) the Libyan Dinar has the following exchange rates.

The exchange rate from your own bank or credit card company will differ somewhat from the exchange rates as mentioned above. Your bank or credit card company might also apply additional international charges.


Crime levels in Libya remain high, including the threat of kidnapping for ransom. Westerners and U.S. citizens have been targets of these crimes.

Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Libya. Violent extremist activity in Libya remains high, and extremist groups have made threats against U.S. government officials and citizens. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, hotels, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities.

Outbreaks of violence between competing armed groups can occur with little warning and have the potential to impact U.S. citizens. The capital, Tripoli, and other cities, such as Surman, Al-Jufra, Misrata, Ajdabiya, Benghazi, Sabha, and Dernah, have witnessed fighting among armed groups, as well as terrorist attacks. Hotels and airports frequented by Westerners have been the targets of these attacks. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

For the latest information regarding COVID-19, please visit:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)

If you decide to travel to Libya:

  • Carry proof of citizenship and valid immigration status at all times.
  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Make contingency plans to leave.
  • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organisation or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
  • Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization.

Turkish military to train 120 Libyan soldiers

Turkey has started providing military training to 120 Libyan soldiers, Defense Ministry announced Monday.  The training is being conducted with the aim of bringing the Libyan Army up to international standards and being held in the Tajoura Joint Land Training and Exercise Center in Libya.

Last year, Ankara and the Tripoli-based internationally recognized Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) reached two separate memorandums of understanding (MoU), one on military cooperation and the other one on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.  The earlier memorandum on maritime boundaries asserted Turkey’s rights in the Eastern Mediterranean in the face of unilateral drilling by the Greek Cypriot administration, clarifying that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area. It went into effect on Dec. 8.  Following the military cooperation deal, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said Ankara might consider sending troops to Libya if the Libyan government made such a demand.

Libyan National Army confirms commitment to Sirte, Jufra ceasefire

The Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar, declared its commitment to the ceasefire in the strategic central city of Sirte and al-Jufra.  This announcement was met with Government of National Accord (GNA) forces going on alert after they accused the LNA of preparing to launch a new military offensive against three western cities.

The surprise GNA escalation is at odds with regional and international efforts aimed at cementing the Libya ceasefire that would pave the way for comprehensive political dialogue.  GNA Defense Minister Salah al-Namroush ordered his forces to “take all measures” to deter and prevent any potential attack, urging them to remain vigilant.  His order was attributed to reports that Haftar may launch an attack against the cities of Bani Walid, Tarhouna and Gharyan.

Namroush said the GNA was committed to the truce that is sponsored by the international community, vowing however, that he will not “abandon” Sirte, al-Jufra or any territory in Libya. “We are forging ahead in reclaiming all Libyan territories in full,” he declared.


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The Acting Head of the UNSMIL, Stephanie Williams, discussed with the President of Tunisia Kais Saied Monday the ongoing preparation for the holding of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in Tunisia, early November, which was welcomed by President Saied.  UNSMIL said in a statement that Williams briefed President Saied on ongoing preparation for the holding of the LPDF and related various consultations.  Williams also expressed her gratitude for Tunisia’s continuous support to the UN efforts to an inclusive political solution to ensure peace and stability in Libya and the region.  LIBYA OBSERVER

The UN mission in Libya announced direct talks will take place between the country’s rivals early next month in neighbouring Tunisia.  The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum will be “in early November, following preparatory virtual consultations”, the UN mission said on Saturday.  The forum will try “to generate consensus on a unified governance framework and arrangements that will lead to national elections in the shortest possible timeframe”.  The UN mission said it “has made it a requirement for participants to the [forum] to recuse themselves from political and sovereign positions in any new executive arrangement and to refrain from the use of hate speech and incitement to violence”.  THE NATIONAL

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Eight European ambassadors left Tunisia for Libya on Saturday to present their credentials to the relevant authorities in Tripoli.  According to sources, the delegation included ambassadors of the European Union, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Finland.  The Belgian ambassador to Libya and Tunisia, Christophe de Bassompierre, posted a photo of the team of ambassadors on his Twitter account today before they departed from Tunisia.  LIBYA OBSERVER

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Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo has met with a group of politicians from different parts of Libya who agreed to meet in Malta to discuss national unity and reconciliation among Libyans after nine years at war.  Bartolo called on them to “work together, forgive each other and build national unity with the same resolve they need to rebuild airports, power stations, electricity and water services, hospitals, schools and homes that were destroyed by the war.”  Bartolo said he hoped that their work would sustain similar efforts towards a united, Libyan-led Libya where the country’s wealth is used for the benefit of all Libyans.  MALTA TODAY

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar met with his Italian counterpart Lorenzo Guerini on Friday to discuss the developments in Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean.  Paying an official visit to Italy, Akar was welcomed with a military ceremony at the country’s defense ministry. The visit continued with a private meeting between the two ministers, followed by a meeting between the two countries’ delegations.  According to a statement from the Turkish Defense Ministry, during the meetings, apart from bilateral relations and regional issues, the topics of Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean were the most discussed items on the agenda.  DAILY SABAH


The National Center for Disease Control of Libya reported the total number of Covid-19 cases in Libya rose to 43,821 including 24,466 recoveries and 644 fatalities, on Monday morning.