Libya PM says he ordered troops towards occupied ports weeks ago

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 03, 2014 11:45 AM

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said on Monday he had given orders to move troops toward eastern ports occupied by protesters, but said deployment of the military was now in the hands of the army command.

Zeidan gave no further details, but he has repeatedly warned he may use force to free up three key ports where protesters demanding more autonomy from Tripoli have cut off around 600,000 barrels per day of oil exports since summer.

"Weeks ago we ordered the minister of defense to give his instructions to the chief of staff to move toward the occupied ports in the east," Zeidan said at a press conference. "Now the matter is in the hands of the army command."

(Reporting by Ghaith Shennib; writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Anthony Barker)