Libya threatens to bomb North Korean tanker if it ships oil from rebel port
Saturday, March 08, 2014 - 01:12
March 8 - Libya threatens to bomb a North Korean-flagged tanker if it tries to ship oil from a rebel-controlled port, in a major escalation of a standoff over the country's petroleum wealth. Mana Rabiee reports.
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Libya threatened on Saturday to bomb a tanker sailing under a North Korean flag if it tried to ship oil from a port that's now under rebel control.
It's a major escalation in a standoff over the country's oil wealth between the government and armed rebels.
Rebels have seized three major ports in eastern Libya since August.
On Saturday, they announced they've started to independently export oil from those ports.
Abbo-Rabbo Albarassi is the self-declared prime minister of Libya's eastern autonomy movement.
At a ceremony to mark the rebel's first shipment, he demanded that 15 percent of national oil revenues go to their region.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SELF-DECLARED PRIME MINISTER OF LIBYA'S EASTERN AUTONOMY MOVEMENT, ABB-RABBO ALBARASSI, SAYING (SOUNDBITE OVERLAPPED BY IMAGE OF TANKER):
"And we reaffirm that we do not accept any threats towards any tanker or ship that we are dealing with or are contracted with. We are not making threats and we do not want the use of force, however, if anyone attacks us, we will be prepared to defend ourselves."
A successful rebel oil shipment would be a blow to Libya's government.
It's struggling to control militias who helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Many kept their weapons and are now a challenge to the state's authority.
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