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U.N. announces start of Libya central bank audit

TUNIS, July 27 – The United Nations’ Libya mission on Monday said an international audit of the country’s two parallel central bank branches was ready to begin, in what it called a “critical step” in creating conditions for their eventual reunification.

The United Nations has finalised a contract with international accounting firm Deloitte to handle the audit for it to start “as soon as possible”, it said in an emailed statement.

Libya has been divided since 2014 between the internationally recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east which has established its own institutions.

Peacemaking efforts in Libya have followed both political and economic tracks aimed at establishing transparency and resolving disputes over the country’s resources, income and debt.

Revenue from Libyan oil exports has flowed through the Tripoli-based CBL, which has paid the salaries of many state employees across front lines.

However, eastern-based forces have imposed a blockade on exports since January, entailing lost revenues of more than $7 billion according to the National Oil Corp.

In the east, authorities have financed the failed assault on Tripoli by Khalifa Haftar using unofficial bonds, Russia-printed cash and deposits from eastern banks, accumulating debt.

(Reporting by Angus McDowall; Editing by Susan Fenton and Alison Williams)

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