The Libyan government has asked 40 foreign firms including French oil company, Total to renew their licences or have their operations suspended, pressuring Europe to stop an eastern military offensive against Tripoli.
According to the economy and industry ministry in a decree, the foreign firms have three months to renew their licences.
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.
Total is a major oil player in Libya, pumping more than 1m barrels of oil a day and aims to have reached 2.1m barrels by 2023.
Speaking on the decision, which also affects the aerospace entity, Thales and Telecoms company, Alcatel, the country’s economy minister, Ali Abdulaziz Issawi, says the foreign businesses’ licences had expired.
Fayez al-Sarraj, who leads the UN-backed, Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), had wanted Macron to explicitly condemn Khalifa Haftar for his assault on Tripoli, which began a month ago.