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East Libyans Threaten to Stop Oil to Press Govt

Source: Reuters 3/27/2012, Location: Africa

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A Libyan politician campaigning for greater autonomy for the country's east said his movement could resort to blocking oil supplies if the central government failed to meet its demands for more seats in the national assembly.

Civic leaders from the east of Libya, known as Cyrenaica, launched a push to create a federal Libya earlier this month, posing a challenge to the country's fragile cohesion after last year's overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. "We may be forced to stop oil flow," Bubaker Buera, a founder of the Congress of the People of Cyrenaica, said.

The eastern part of Libya is home to more than 80 percent of the country's oil wealth, and has been given 60 out of 200 seats in the national assembly. The Congress has called for a third of the seats. Representatives to the national assembly will be elected in June, in the country's first elections since the ouster of Gaddafi in a NATO-backed rebellion.

Residents of eastern Libya say Gaddafi had marginalised the region, home to Benghazi, Libya's second largest city and the birthplace of the revolution. Bubaker told Reuters he wanted a fairer representation for the eastern region which is home to about 2 million of Libya's 6 million people.

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