Libya’s fragile government is trying to distance itself from talks with rebels, aimed at ending a crippling oil blockade.
A government spokesman had originally suggested there could be a deal within a few days.
But now there is embarrassment about the release of three rebels, who were nabbed after stealing an oil tanker.
Their release has been tied to the negotiations with the rebels to ease the siege in the port of al-Sidra.
Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons reports from Tripoli.