Wednesday 23 August 2017
(AFP (eng) 08/08/17)
The UN's new envoy to Libya on Tuesday endorsed Italy's drive to stem the flow of migrants leaving the north African state for Europe, despite misgivings among human rights groups. Rights campaigners fear Italy's focus on strengthening the Libyan coastguard to ensure boatloads of migrants are intercepted before reaching international waters could place thousands of people with a right to asylum at serious risk. But Ghassam Salame, a former Lebanese culture minister appointed in June to head UN operations in Libya, described the cooperation between Tripoli and Rome as a "very constructive" way of dealing with an acute problem. "It would be absolutely unrealistic to ignore the seriousness of the challenge of irregular migration," Salame said after meeting Italian Foreign...
(AFP (eng) 08/08/17)
When a cash crisis struck the war-torn North African country of Libya, many people were forced to queue for days to withdraw their savings. But electronic payments systems set up to tackle the dearth of cash have struggled to gain credibility amid accusations of abuse. Said Fayez Fadlallah, 35, uses a mobile phone app to pay for a trolley-full of groceries at a large supermarket in second city Benghazi. "Now I don't have to spend hours or even days queueing at the bank to withdraw cash," he said. "They really solved a problem for us." Years of violence and political chaos since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi have left Libya's state institutions in...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Residents of Derna in east Libya say they are facing critical shortages after Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) tightened its longstanding siege around the city last week. Haftar's eastern-based LNA, one of a number of factions that have vied for power in Libya since a 2011 uprising ended Muammar Gaddafi's four-decade rule, is waging a military campaign against a coalition of Islamist militants and ex-rebels known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council (DMSC) that controls Derna. Attention has shifted to the coastal city after Haftar announced victory in a three-year military campaign against a similar coalition in Benghazi, 350 km (210 miles) to the west, a month ago. The LNA launches occasional air strikes over Derna and at the...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Production from Libya's largest oil field was returning to normal after being briefly disrupted by armed protesters who broke into a control room in the coastal city of Zawiya, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Monday. A pipeline supplying jet fuel and gasoline from Zawiya to Tripoli that the protesters had also closed has reopened, the NOC added. Libya's Sharara field has been producing about 270,000 barrels a day (bpd), accounting for about a quarter of the country's output. It has been key to a revival in Libya's oil production, which climbed to more than 1 million bpd in late June from just over 200,000 bpd a year ago. Libya has been exempted from an OPEC-led push to cut...
(Voice of America 08/08/17)
Italian government ministers are becoming increasingly divided over risky naval efforts to curb the numbers of migrants who have landed at the country’s ports. At issue — what the mission should be for two Italian naval ships set to be deployed in Libyan waters. Several ministers object to the idea of Italian sailors turning back mainly sub-Saharan asylum-seekers — either directly or indirectly in coordination with Libyan Coast Guard ships, some of whom are suspected of being in league with people smugglers. The emerging cracks in the Italian government policy come as a ship leased to a far right anti-migrant group started to shadow refugee-rescue vessels operated by humanitarian organizations, raising fears of a possible dangerous confrontation at sea with...
(Cnbc Africa 08/08/17)
Two oil-exporting nations could decide the future of a historic deal to drain a worldwide glut of crude oil, according to Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets. It's not top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, the architects of the accord, but conflict-plagued Libya and Venezuela, a petrostate on the brink of collapse. Oil producers are meeting in Abu Dhabi on Monday and Tuesday to figure out how to improve compliance with a deal struck by OPEC and other exporters to keep 1.8 million barrels a day off the market. Analysts say top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia have limited options to convince producers to pump less. The compact has been undermined by surging supply from...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/08/17)
Tuesday's action at the World Athletics Championships sees two of the most intriguing races of the program as South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk bids for the first half of his 400/200 meters double and Nigel Amos goes for gold in the men's 800m. World record holder and defending champion Van Niekerk should be unbeatable in the 400m but faces a stiff challenge, not least from Botswanan duo Isaac Makwala and Thebe Baboloki. Another Botswanan, Amos, will also have to be at his best in the 800m, where a clutch of athletes are suddenly dreaming of glory in the absence of Kenya's injured champion David Rudisha. Kenya is expected to continue its dominance of the men's 3,000m steeplechase - though American...
(AFP (eng) 08/04/17)
Traumatised by war, their jihadist parents either killed or missing, 28 children have found solace in each other at a Red Crescent centre in Libya's third city Misrata. Whether they're jumping up and down on mattresses or playing in the yard, the boys and girls stick together, like siblings, the older ones looking out for the little ones. Last December, fighters loyal to Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord, many of them from Misrata, prised the Mediterranean coastal city of Sirte out of the grasp of the Islamic State group after several months of battle. Children of the defeated jihadists were left in a state of physical and psychological trauma, Red Crescent spokesman Ali al-Ghwell told AFP during a tour...
(Sudan Tribune 08/04/17)
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour has called the Egyptian government to cooperate on ways to stop the support provided by some Libyan parties to the rebel groups from Darfur region. Ghandour and his visiting counterpart Sameh Shoukry held Thursday the joint political consultations meeting where they discussed the implementation of outcomes of the joint presidential cooperation committee, held last June, including the strategic cooperation document, the consulate cooperation, border crossing committee, coordination at regional and international forums as well as regional developments. Speaking at a joint press conference after the end of the meeting, the two minister pointed to the progress achieved in different areas stressing that the hostile media campaign has been stopped. But they didn’t mention the dispute...
(Ahram Online 08/04/17)
Lieutenant General Mahmoud Hegazy held talks with rival Libyan delegations to discuss reconciliation. Egypt’s army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Mahmoud Hegazy, held meetings with rival Libyan delegations in Cairo this week to discuss reconciliation, the official military spokesman announced on Thursday. Hegazy, the head of the committee assigned to mediate between the Libyan factions in Egypt, met Libyan delegations from the cities of Misurata and Barca, and held talks with them for three days this, according to military spokesman Tamer El-Refai. Hegazy held separate meetings with each delegation, then a joint meeting without pre-conditions with both delegations. The talks were focused on achieving reconciliation and the two delegations agreed on the need for a roadmap to end the current...
(AL Jazeera 08/04/17)
Commander in control of the east issues orders to naval bases after Italy sends ship to halt people smugglers' boats. The commander of Libya's self-styled national army has ordered his naval forces to confront any vessel entering the country's waters without permission. The move by the renegade general, Khalifa Haftar, which was announced on Wednesday, comes after Italy instructed its navy to stop refugee boats heading to Europe from Libya. An Italian naval ship, Commandante Borsini, entered Libyan waters on Wednesday. Italy initially hoped to send six ships into Libyan waters but had to downsize the mission after objections from the administration in Tripoli. Haftar, who controls most of eastern Libya, said the order was applicable to bases in Benghazi,...
(RT 08/04/17)
Russia plans to resume contracts with Libya agreed by former leader Muammar Gaddafi. The infrastructure projects have been frozen since Gaddafi’s assassination and the breakout of civil war. "We plan to resign the contracts signed during Muammar Gaddafi’s rule. This includes the previous agreements in the transport sector, construction of railways, energy, electrification and a number of others," said Lev Dengov, the head of the Russian contact team on Libya in an interview with Kommersant daily. After six years of conflict, Libya is split between two rival governments. The western part of the country is controlled by Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord, based in Tripoli. The eastern regional government is under the control of General Khalifa Haftar, located in...
(AFP (eng) 08/03/17)
French bank Societe Generale on Wednesday said its net profit tumbled by over a quarter in the second quarter of this year due to the cost of settling a lawsuit with Libya's sovereign wealth fund. While it had already set aside some funds, Societe Generale had to book a charge of nearly billion euros against second-quarter profits for the out-of-court settlement with the Libyan Investment Authority in May. The LIA sued the bank in 2014 for $1.5 billion for allegedly channelling bribes to allies of Moamer Kadhafi's son.
(Xinhuanet 08/03/17)
Egypt hosted over the past three days two delegations from the Libyan eastern region of Barqa and the northwestern port city of Misrata to outline a roadmap for inter-Libyan national reconciliation, the Egyptian army said in a statement on Thursday. Led by Egypt's Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy, the Egyptian Committee on Libya held separate talks with the two delegations, followed by joint talks with their representatives without preconditions, said military spokesman Tamer al-Refaay in the statement. The participants agreed on a time-scheduled roadmap including mechanisms for future meetings "in order to achieve true reconciliation that enhances means of coexistence between Libyans
(Reuters (Eng) 08/03/17)
Italy began a limited naval mission on Wednesday to help Libya's coastguard curb migrant flows, which have become a source of political friction before national elections expected early next year. An Italian patrol boat entered Libyan waters and headed towards the port of Tripoli within minutes of a vote in Italy's parliament authorizing the deployment. A second vessel was expected to join it in the coming days. Italy announced the operation last week, saying it had been requested by Libya's U.N.-backed government. It initially hoped to send six ships into Libyan territorial waters, but the plans had to be scaled back following protests from Tripoli. "(We will) provide logistical, technical and operational support for Libyan naval vessels, helping them and...
(Xinhuanet 08/03/17)
An Italian warship on Wednesday arrived in the Libyan capital Tripoli with a naval expert team on board, a Libyan navy spokesman said. Ayob Qassem said that the ship's visit aims to boost technical cooperation to fight illegal immigration and provide training to Libyan coastguards. Italy said that the mission is based on a request by the UN-backed government in Tripoli. However, Libyan eastern parliament rejected the Italian naval mission, calling it a "violation to the national sovereignty." "Such agreements or requests are only made by the legitimate parliament, not an executive authority," said Abdullah Belheeg, a parliament spokesman. Moreover, eastern-based army commander, General Khalifa Haftar, issued orders to naval bases in different cities in the country to attack any...
(Xinhuanet 08/03/17)
Trade between China and Africa reached 85.3 billion U.S. dollars in H1, surging 19 percent year on year as the two sides strengthened cooperation in a wide range of areas, official data showed Thursday. The data reversed the negative growth trend since 2015, according to Gao Feng, spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce. During January-June, Chinese imports from Africa, including minerals, agricultural products and fruits, amounted to 38.4 billion U.S. dollars, jumping 46 percent from the same period last year, while exports gained 3 percent to 47 billion U.S. dollars. Transport equipment has become a bright spot in China's exports to African countries, with that of ships, trains and aerospace equipment up 200 percent, 161 percent and 252 percent respectively,...
(AFP (eng) 08/02/17)
The Italian parliament gave the go-ahead Wednesday to a naval mission aimed at boosting the Libyan coastguard in its fight against human traffickers and further reducing the number of migrant arrivals on Italy's coasts. Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said Italy would provide technical support without infringing on the crisis-hit country's sovereignty but would not take part in a "hostile" naval blockade to prevent the departure of migrant boats. The number of arrivals in July was down dramatically on the same month last year, suggesting efforts to close down the Libya-Italy route to Europe by training and equipping the North African country's coastguard could be having an impact. The Interior Ministry said 11,193 new arrivals had been registered in July, compared...
(AFP (eng) 08/02/17)
A group of rappers who say they had to flee Libya for their art were on their way to Italy Wednesday after being rescued by a charity boat. The self-described musicians were among a group of 17 mostly Libyan men picked up by the Aquarius, a vessel operated by French NGO SOS Mediterranee and international humanitarian organisation Doctors without Borders (MSF), from a fishing boat in distress in waters off the Libyan coast. "I'm (a) rapper, I do rap music, so I got to get out of Libya," one of the men, Youssef, told AFP. "I have to get out of Libya for freedom of speech, you know about that. Libya is a dangerous zone right now for arts..." Youssef,...
(AFP (eng) 08/02/17)
French bank Societe Generale on Wednesday said its net profit tumbled by over a quarter in the second quarter of this year due to the cost of settling a lawsuit with Libya's sovereign wealth fund. While it had already set aside some funds, Societe Generale had to book a charge of nearly billion euros against second-quarter profits for the out-of-court settlement with the Libyan Investment Authority in May. The LIA sued the bank in 2014 for $1.5 billion for allegedly channelling bribes to allies of Moamer Kadhafi's son. The case had been about to go to court in Britain. The charge pushed net profit down to 1.05 billion euros ($1.24 billion), but that still beat the average forecast of 940...

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