Saturday 19 August 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 07/28/17)
Barclays reported a 1.2 billion pound ($1.57 billion)attributable first half loss on Friday after taking a 2.5 billion pound hit from the sale of its Africa business and calling an end to its restructuring. The British bank said it had made a 1.4 billion pound loss on the sale of 33 percent of Barclays Africa Group, and took a further 1.1 billion pound impairment charge on the sale. Barclays in June cut its stake in Barclays Africa Group to 15 percent, ending more than 90 years as a major presence in the continent as it shifts its focus back to Britain and the United States. The losses from the sale of unwanted assets including the Africa business showed the costs...
(AFP (eng) 07/27/17)
An Italian government plan to deploy vessels in Libyan territorial waters to help fight human trafficking will be presented to parliament early next week, Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Thursday. He said the cabinet was "discussing the details" of a request from Tripoli for help and "will present them on Tuesday", adding that he was "sure parliament will vote in favour". Libya's UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has appealed to Italy to send ships into Libyan waters to help combat a phenomenon which has seen thousands of migrants set sail across the Mediterranean to Europe. The European Union has an anti-trafficking operation dubbed "Sophia" that was launched in 2015, but its vessels have not been permitted to enter Libyan waters,...
(AFP (eng) 07/27/17)
France will set up processing centres in Libya for asylum seekers trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean, President Emmanuel Macron announced Thursday. "The idea is to create hotspots to avoid people taking crazy risks when they are not all eligible for asylum. We'll go to them," Macron said during a visit to a refugee shelter in central France, adding the plan would be put in place "this summer", with or without other EU countries. But officials in the French presidency cast doubt on whether the centres could be established that quickly
(Bloomberg 07/27/17)
A French-led effort to reunify fractured Libya failed to consult powerful local forces and risks achieving little beyond boosting the legitimacy of a renegade general who has recently racked up significant battlefield gains. On paper, the step taken by Libya’s rival leaders on Tuesday -- guided by French President Emmanuel Macron and a United Nations envoy -- was their boldest yet toward resolving Libya’s six-year crisis. After talks at a country mansion outside Paris, UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and eastern military strongman Khalifa Haftar agreed to -- but didn’t sign -- a text calling for a ceasefire, combining the North African crude producer’s divided state oil company and holding elections “as soon as possible.” Yet the accord will struggle...
(AFP (eng) 07/27/17)
Spanish oil giant Repsol posted Thursday a jump in quarterly net profit, lifted by lower restructuring costs, recovering oil prices and the resumption of production in Libya. The company said its net profit in the April-June period stood at 367 million euros ($428 million), a 79 percent increase over the same year-ago period, but below the 434 million predicted by analysts polled by financial data firm Factset. Production decreased to 677,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day during the quarter, down from 697,000 a year ago due to asset sales in Indonesia and Trinidad and Tobago as well as the decommissioning of a field in Norway, Repsol said in a statement. Profits at Repsol's upstream business, which includes extraction and...
(AfricaNews 07/27/17)
At a time when Africa is going through a difficult situation, the blue economy is emerging as a stepping stone to relaunch the continent in the right economic direction. But this type of economy is seriously threatened by “predators” who do not hesitate to plunder resources. The “cancer of illegal fishing” costs Africa about $ 1.6 million annually based on Economic Commission for Africa’s estimates. This and more on this week’s edition segment on Business on the Morning Call with Jean David Mihamle.
(AFP (eng) 07/26/17)
Libya's UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has appealed to Italy to send ships into Libyan territorial waters to help combat human trafficking, Rome said Wednesday. Sarraj "sent a letter requesting the Italian government provide the technical support of Italian naval units in the joint struggle in Libyan waters against human traffickers," Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said. Gentiloni said the ministry of defence was considering the request and "the options will be discussed with the Libyan authorities and the Italian parliament". Should Italy respond positively, "as I believe is necessary, it could be a very important development in the fight against people trafficking," he added. The Italian PM was speaking after a meeting in Rome with Sarraj, the head of...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/26/17)
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and the divided country's eastern commander Khalifa Haftar committed to a conditional ceasefire and to work towards holding elections next spring in talks chaired by French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday. Past attempts at peace deals in oil-producing Libya have often been scuttled by internal divisions among the myriad of competing armed groups that have emerged since rebels toppled strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. "We commit to a ceasefire and to refrain from any use of armed force for any purpose that does not strictly constitute counter-terrorism,"
(AFP (eng) 07/25/17)
The two main rivals in conflict-ridden Libya made a joint commitment Tuesday to calling a ceasefire and holding elections that French President Emmanuel Macron said would take place in spring 2018. Macron said Libya's UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar, the military commander based in the remote east of the vast country, had shown "historic courage" in talks outside Paris. Sarraj and Haftar "struck an agreement to hold elections next spring", Macron said after hosting the meeting. A 10-point statement backed by the two leaders said: "We commit to a ceasefire and to refrain from any use of armed force for any purpose that does not strictly constitute counter-terrorism." It also says the two sides are committed to...
(AFP (eng) 07/25/17)
Libya's UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and military strongman rival Khalifa Haftar are set to meet near Paris on Tuesday for talks aimed at easing tensions in their violence-wracked country. It is their first encounter since a rare meeting in Abu Dhabi in May. The talks come as Europe struggles to secure a political settlement in Libya after years of chaos since the NATO-backed uprising that ousted and killed veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. Here are profiles of the two men, whose rivalry has hampered a political solution for the North African country, bedevilled by jihadism and people smuggling. - Sarraj: struggling for authority - Sarraj was a political novice when he took up the premiership of the UN-backed...
(AFP (eng) 07/25/17)
The two main rivals in conflict-ridden Libya are committed to a ceasefire and holding elections "as soon as possible", according to a draft statement released ahead of French-brokered talks Tuesday. The communique says Libya's UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar, the military commander who controls the remote east of the vast country, accept that only a political solution can end the crisis. Diplomatic sources said the two sides had agreed on a joint statement but that the text being circulated was not the final version. The 10-point version seen by AFP says the ceasefire would not apply to counter-terrorism efforts. It also says the two sides are committed to developing the rule of law. French President Emmanuel Macron,...
(AFP (eng) 07/25/17)
France is hosting a rare meeting on Tuesday between Libya's UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and military strongman Khalifa Haftar who backs a rival administration in the east. The French government hopes the meeting will help clinch a political agreement to end years of chaos that has gripped Libya since a 2011 uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi. Here are some of the key challenges facing Libya, also bedevilled by jihadism and people smuggling. - Establishing one central government - Oil-rich Libya has been deeply divided since the 2011 uprising, with a myriad militias holding territory and rival administrations vying for their allegiance in often bloody confrontations. The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) set up base in...
(Voice of America 07/25/17)
European and African ministers are meeting in Tunisia about efforts to regulate the flow of refugees from Africa to Europe, primarily along the deadly central Mediterranean route originating in Libya. In a declaration Monday in Tunis, the capital, the ministers said they agreed on a multi-pronged approach to the crisis, including informing people about the risks of illegal migration and the possibility of voluntarily returning home, addressing why migrants leave home and beefing up actions against human traffickers. Participating in the meetings were interior ministers from Algeria, Austria, Chad, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Mali, Malta, Niger, Slovenia, Switzerland, Tunisia and Estonia, which currently holds the EU Council presidency. Through the first half of 2017, nearly 84,000 migrants arrived in...
(AFP (eng) 07/24/17)
Libya's coastguard rescued at least 150 migrants who were trying to reach Europe on Monday, after their inflatable boat had engine problems and began to sink, a navy spokesman said. The migrants, mostly Africans and including two women and four children, were spotted off the coast of the capital Tripoli. A coastguard patrol was informed that a boat had run into trouble around seven nautical miles offshore and a rescue mission was launched, Colonel Abu Ajela told AFP. A witness said people traffickers...
(AFP (eng) 07/24/17)
Libya's UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj will hold talks near Paris on Tuesday with Khalifa Haftar, the powerful military commander based in the country's east, the French presidency said. French President Emmanuel Macron will host the meeting, the presidency said in a statement on Monday. "France intends, through this initiative, to facilitate a political agreement" between the two rivals as the newly appointed UN envoy for Libya, Ghassam Salame, takes office, the statement said.
(Reuters (Eng) 07/21/17)
The Libyan National Army, the main military force in eastern Libya, on Thursday denied accusations that its troops were involved in torture and killing of prisoners after the United Nations urged the LNA to investigate. The U.N. Human Rights Commission earlier this week called on the LNA, one of the many competing armed factions fighting in Libya since its 2011 civil war, to examine reports of summary executions of prisoners. "We affirm that there is no truth to what is described in the statement regarding the torture or killing prisoners," LNA spokesman Ahmad Messmari said.
(Reuters (Eng) 07/21/17)
Buoyed by the end of a long military campaign in Benghazi and new signs of foreign support, Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar has been signaling his intent to extend his power to the capital, Tripoli. Haftar, a one-time ally of Muammar Gaddafi who fell out with the former Libyan leader in the 1980s, emerged as a strongman in eastern Libya over the past three years, using the Benghazi campaign to build up his forces whilst shunning a U.N.-mediated peace plan. His strategy now appears to be to forge the kind of local alliances used to advance into key oil ports and parts of the south over the past year. But it is a strategy that would be higher risk and harder...
(AFP (eng) 07/21/17)
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will expand from 16 to 24 teams and be staged in June and July, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced on Thursday. The tournament has traditionally been held in January and February, with the timing of the tournament a source of frustration to European clubs forced to release players in the middle of the season. The CAF executive committee confirmed the changes to the format following a two-day symposium in Rabat, although the tournament will continue to be held every two years and exclusively on African soil. The decision to increase the number of teams mirrors a similar one taken by UEFA to expand the European Championship, with 24 nations taking part at...
(AFP (eng) 07/20/17)
The head of Libya's National Oil Company announced on Wednesday that oil production is expected to reach 1.25 million barrels per day by the end of 21017. NOC president Mustafa Sanalla said, however, that "despite a surge of more than one million bpd" oil production would fluctuate "in the absence of a budgetary law". Sanalla, who was in the eastern city of Benghazi for talks with oil company chiefs on reuniting the sector, which like other institutions has been hard hit by divisions in Libya. With estimated oil reserves of 48 billion barrels, Libya used to produce 1.6 million bpd before the armed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. By the end of 2014, the conflict...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/20/17)
When the head of Libya's state energy company visited Sharara oil field in early July, community leaders and workers crowded into a conference room to ask about jobs, training and services for local people. When, they asked, would their villages start to see the benefit of the country's rising oil production? "You've been very patient," Mustafa Sanalla reassured them, before adding: "You need to be patient a little longer." Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) raised output to more than one million barrels per day (bpd) at the end of June for the first time since 2013, a feat that seemed near impossible after the chaos that followed the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The NOC did it by cajoling...

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