Pipelines are seen at the Zueitina oil terminal in Zueitina, west of Benghazi April 7, 2014. (REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori)
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Libya may have averted a state collapse by striking a deal with eastern rebels to reopen occupied oil ports, but technical delays and simmering federalist dissent threaten to disrupt production once again.Libya's fragile government reached an agreement Sunday with Ibrahim al-Jathran, the leader of eastern rebels, to reopen two oil ports they were holding and lift a nine-month blockade crippling exports.Under the deal, Hariga and Zueitina ports would reopen immediately, with the larger Ras Lanouf and Es Sider terminals to be freed by Jathran's men in less than four weeks after more negotiations.With 700,000 barrels per day of Libya's oil exports blockaded – more than half its usual shipments – the sides struck the deal after the government threatened force to break Jathran's blockade, instigated to demand more autonomy for his eastern Cyrenaica region.Some in the east resent that Jathran negotiated salaries and several months of back pay for his 3,000 to 4,000 followers, who worked for the state Petroleum Facilities Guards before defecting in August to take over the ports.
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