A deal to lift an armed blockade of Libyan oil ports and restart exports could be possible within two weeks after talks with the government advanced on key demands, a senior leader of the protest movement said.

The group, led by a former rebel who once battled leader Muammar Gaddafi, seized three major eastern ports in summer to demand a greater share of oil wealth and more regional autonomy, choking off 600,000 barrels per day of oil exports.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan’s government in Tripoli has been trying to reopen the ports as it faces a budget crunch that risks deepening unrest in the OPEC producer. Oil exports, Libya’s lifeline, have more than halved since summer. [..]