Libya’s central bank announces reunification after nearly a decade of division due to civil war

CAIRO (AP) — Libya’s central bank announced Sunday its reunification after being split for nearly a decade due to the country’s long-running civil war that resulted in two rival administrations, in the east and the west.

The bank said in a terse statement that it has become a “unified sovereign institution” following a meeting in the capital, Tripoli, between Central Bank Governor Sadiq al-Kabir and his deputy in the country’s east, Marai Rahil.

The bank said the meeting crowned efforts by Libyan parties and marked the unification of the bank. Al-Kabir and Rahil said they would continue their efforts to address repercussions of the yearslong division, according to the statement. They didn’t provide further details.

The bank is the repository for billions of dollars annually in oil revenue as well as foreign reserves. In 2014, it splintered along the country’s broader political fault lines. The bank’s internationally recognized headquarters remains in Tripoli, while an eastern branch allied with powerful military commander Khalifa Hifter was set up in the city of Benghazi.

Libya was plunged into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. The oil-rich North African country has been split between a U.N.-supported government in Tripoli, and rival authorities based in Sirte. Each side has been backed by armed groups and foreign governments.

Sunday’s announcement, which was welcomed by rival administrations in Libya, came 19 months after the bank started a unification process, commissioning the London-based accounting firm Deloitte to oversee the process.

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