Libya unity government urges UN to block 'illegal' oil sales

The oil refinery at Ras Lanuf, eastern Libya, which has been seized by military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who vowed all future revenue will go to the unrecognized eastern government rather than the UN-backed administration in Tripoli

Libya's unity government on Tuesday called on the UN Security Council to block any "illegal" oil exports from the chaos-hit country after a rival administration won control of key ports.

The appeal by the UN-backed Government of National Accord follows the seizure of two eastern ports by military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who said they would be handed over to the unrecognised administration in the east.

"Handing over oil terminals to an illegitimate entity only exacerbates the division," the Tripoli-based GNA said.

Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army said Monday it had regained "full control" of Libya's oil crescent, after 10 days of deadly fighting with a rival militia.

The GNA said the transfer of oil revenues to the unrecognised administration backed by Hafar "undermines all international and national efforts in recent years towards a return to stability".

Libya has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 armed uprising that toppled and killed long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with two rival authorities vying for control.

Haftar supports the administration based in the east of the country.

A UN-backed unity government in Tripoli has struggled to assert its authority outside the west.

An oil refinery in Libya's northern town of Ras Lanuf on January 11, 2017