| Africatime
Thursday 30 March 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 02/16/17)
NATO said on Thursday it had received a new and detailed request from Libya's U.N.-backed government to train and develop its military, depleted by years of conflict and facing an Islamist militant threat as well as division among Libyan militias. As the West and neighbouring Egypt seek to stabilise Libya, NATO has offered support to the Tripoli-based government but a request from Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Seraj in May last year was seen as too broad. Seraj's Government of National Accord (GNA) has been trying to formulate plans for unified Libyan security forces since arriving in Tripoli in March, but has made little progress in asserting its authority over rival factions. It is unclear if an Egyptian-brokered roadmap can help...
(AFP (eng) 02/16/17)
Rival powers in Libya have agreed to form a committee to explore amending a UN-backed deal to end the country's political turmoil, Egypt announced on Wednesday after hosting talks. The head of Libya's unity government Fayez al-Sarraj and rival army chief Marshal Khalifa Haftar had been in Cairo this week for talks mediated by the Egyptian army. They agreed to set up "a joint committee" to formulate amendments to the deal that set up the unity government, the military said in a statement. Libyan media reported that Sarraj and Haftar did not meet face to face during the talks in Cairo. Sarraj's UN-backed Government of National Accord has struggled to assert its authority across the North African country since starting...
(The Associated Press 02/16/17)
NATO's chief says he has received a formal request from conflict-torn Libya to help strengthen its security institutions and that the alliance is looking into exactly what can be done. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that the 28 allies could help build up the Libyan defense ministry and military command structure. He told reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels that "Libya needs that framework to be able to develop the forces and stabilize the country." Stoltenberg didn't say when the effort might start or what exactly it might entail. NATO currently has a naval operation in the Mediterranean outside Libyan waters working on counterterrorism and assisting the European Union in its efforts to monitor and rescue migrants.
(Bloomberg 02/16/17)
Libya’s crude production exceeded 700,000 barrels a day and is due to keep rising as working conditions in the conflict-ridden country improve for international companies like Eni SpA and Total SA, an official from the state oil company said. The North African country’s crude production is due to reach 1.2 million barrels a day by August and 1.7 million by March 2018 when the nation’s ports and export terminals will be operating at full capacity, Jadalla Alaokali, board member of Libya’s National Oil Corp., said in an interview in Cairo. Output at the El-Feel, or Elephant, oil field is due to resume within one month, pumping 75,000 barrels a day, he said. Eni and Total are working in Libya without...
(Libya Herald 02/16/17)
An official Libyan delegation representing the Serraj-led Presidency Council/Government of National Accord (PC/GNA) visited South Korea on Tuesday in an effort to persuade its authorities to permit their companies to return and resume their stalled projects in Libya. The Libyan delegation included the PC/GNA-recognized chairman of the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL), Abdulmajid Hamza, who met with South Korea’s Deputy Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Communications, Kim Kyung-Hwan as well as contracting companies. Hamza encouraged the South Koreans to resume their work in Libya in general, but more specifically resume work on the three power stations they are contracted for: Zuetina, Tripoli West and the Sirte Gulf stations. The discussions included security, legal and financial matters, as well as...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/17)
The head of Libya's unity government and a rival army chief were to meet in Cairo on Tuesday to find a solution to turmoil in the country, a government official said. The UN-backed Government of National Accord has struggled to assert its authority across the North African country since starting work in Tripoli nearly a year ago. GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj and Marshal Khalifa Haftar were due to meet later in the Egyptian capital, the official said, without providing further details on the agenda. However, a source close to Haftar said the general was refusing to meet Sarraj before he received "guarantees that a possible agreement not be rejected" by the powerful armed groups of Misrata in western Libya. The...
(Xinhuanet 02/15/17)
Thirteen Egyptian workers kidnapped in Libya were freed by the Egyptian Armed Forces in cooperation with Libyan military, a military statement said on Tuesday. The workers were kidnapped by militants who asked for ransom, official news agency MENA reported. "Measures have been taken to bring them home," military spokesman Tamer El Refaei said in the statement. Another criminal gang has also kidnapped 23 Egyptians in Ajbabia area in Libya in August and released them after receiving ransom. Thousands of Egyptians defy the unrest in Libya for employment despite of government's warning to avoid the war-torn country.
(AFP (eng) 02/15/17)
Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than a half billion people live without electricity, trails the world in government policies that promote sustainable energy, according to a new World Bank report Wednesday. Much of the rest of the world, however, has made strides toward making energy broadly available, developing renewable power sources and increasing efficiency, the inaugural Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy report said. In a survey of 111 countries, the World Bank found that through 2015 nearly 80 percent had begun to adopt policies to expand electrical grids, connecting them to solar and wind generation, and to help make electric utilities creditworthy and financially viable while keeping energy prices down. More than a third of countries, home to 96 percent of...
(News24 02/14/17)
The head of Libya's UN-brokered government and the country's most powerful army commander, who is allied with rival authorities, are expected to meet to discuss a political settlement. A spokesperson for the unity government said on Tuesday that Fayez Serraj's meeting with Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter could lead to a "180-degree turn". The spokesperson, Ashraf al-Tulty, said he hoped the Egyptian government will help bridge the gap. Egypt strongly supports Hifter. Serraj's government has failed over the past year in unifying Libya, which slid into chaos after the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed Muammar Gaddafi. Hifter is allied with the Libyan parliament, which meets in the east of the country and has rejected the UN-backed government, in part because...
(Voice of America 02/14/17)
The European Union is touting a plan it says will help Libya curb the number of migrants leaving its shores, but some advocates believe the plan does little more than trap African and Middle Eastern migrants in a war zone. On February 3, the European Union announced it would give $212 million to help Libya’s U.N.-backed government bolster its coast guard capabilities as well as offer training and equipment in order to block smuggling routes. Preben Aamann, spokesman for European Council President Donald Tusk, said the current migration situation is both tragic and untenable. He said last year 181,000 people set off from Libya en route to Italy and approximately 5,000 drowned in the central Mediterranean. Both of those figures...
(Middle East Monitor 02/14/17)
Libya’s Presidency Council (PC) leader, Fayez Sarraj, and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar are scheduled to meet in Cairo today for joint talks on a possible settlement in the country. The talks were initially planned for Monday but were postponed due to disagreements on the conditions set by the two sides, according to The New Arab. Haftar will be accompanied by Abdul Basset Al-Badri, the Libyan ambassador to Riyadh, a political adviser and close friend. Sarraj will be joined by Fathi Majbri, a PC member from Cyrenaica. Sarraj’s first choice was former Prime Minister Ahmed Maetig but Haftar refused to attend the meeting if he was present. Both parties have been holding indirect talks through Egyptian intermediaries, including Egypt’s Chief of...
(News24 02/14/17)
The United Nations secretary general said on Monday he "deeply regrets" the United States' decision to block a former Palestinian prime minister from leading the world body's political mission in Libya. Antonio Guterres said Salam Fayyad was "the right person for the right job at the right moment," stressing that the Palestinian politician "has a competence that nobody denies and Libya requires". "I think it is a loss for the Libyan peace process and the Libyan people I'm not able to appoint him," Guterres said. Libya has been gripped by war and unrest since its 2011 uprising and the killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. "Libya has been a factor of contamination to the peace and stability in a wide area...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/14/17)
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday he believed former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was the right person to be the world body's envoy to Libya after the United States raised objections. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has expressed disappointment over Guterres's choice, saying the United Nations has for too long been "unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel." "It is a loss for the Libyan peace process and for the Libyan people that I am not able to appoint him," Guterres said at a summit in Dubai. "I do not think there is any valid reason to avoid someone who is very competent to do a...
(Voice of America 02/14/17)
U.S. President Donald Trump made his first phone calls to African heads of state Monday, speaking with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and South African President Jacob Zuma. Nigeria and South Africa said the calls were made at the request of the U.S. president, who until now has said little about Africa or African issues since assuming office last month. The Nigerian presidency said Trump and Buhari discussed issues of terrorism, and said Trump assured Buhari the United States is ready to make a new deal to help Nigeria "in terms of military weapons." The statement said Trump also commended Buhari for the strides Nigeria is making against Islamist radical group Boko Haram, and invited Buhari to come to Washington at...
(Xinhuanet 02/13/17)
An official of the Libyan Red Crescent said more than 70 bodies have been retrieved in Sirte in the last 10 days. Saleh Bozreba, the head of the Red Crescent's crisis management committee in Misrata, said that 65 of the retrieved bodies are IS militants who were killed in a U.S. airstrike on Jan. 19 in southern Sirte. Bozreba said the Red Crescent volunteer teams are still working to retrieve the remaining bodies in Sirte, calling on national and international organizations to assist the teams. Sirte, located some 450 km east the capital Tripoli, has been an IS haven for more than a year before the forces loyal to the UN-backed government waged a seven-month war and took control of...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/11/17)
Mayors from Libya's desert south to its northern shores fear a deal between Tripoli and Rome to fund migrant holding centers in this north African country will simply shift Europe's migration crisis onto Libyan soil. The Mediterranean Sea between Libya and Italy has become the main crossing point for asylum seekers and economic migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Last year, Italy recorded its record number of arrivals and many migrants drowned at sea. The deal foresees European Union money for holding centers in towns and cities along the main human trafficking routes criss-crossing Libya, as well as training and equipment to fight the smugglers.
(AFP (eng) 02/10/17)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres plans to appoint former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad as UN envoy to Libya, tasked with brokering talks on changes to a faltering political deal, diplomats said Thursday. Guterres informed the Security Council in a letter that he intends to appoint Fayyad to replace Martin Kobler of Germany, who has been Libya envoy since November 2015. Fayyad, 65, was prime minister of the Palestinian Authority from 2007 to 2013 and also served as finance minister twice. The appointment comes amid diplomatic negotiations over changes to a UN-brokered political deal that led to the formation of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj's unity government.
(Dw-World 02/10/17)
At the EU foreign ministers meeting, Germany's Sigmar Gabriel played down proposals to return migrants to Libya. Ministers are pushing the Libyan government to do more to halt an influx of refugees to Europe. Gabriel, who is Germany's Foreign Minister and also Vice Chancellor, was skeptical about deporting migrants from Italy, where over the past year most migrants have landed in Europe, back to Libya because of the country's chaotic political situation. "We believe Libya is a very unstable place," he told reporters on Monday while in Brussels for talks with his European counterparts, to implement a deal thrashed out last week by EU leaders in Malta. Gabriel's comments contradicted those made by another senior member of his Social Democrats...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/10/17)
Islamic State militants have shifted to desert valleys and inland hills southeast of Tripoli as they seek to exploit Libya's political divisions after defeat in their former stronghold of Sirte, security officials say. The militants, believed to number several hundred and described as "remnants" of Islamic State's Libya operation, are trying to foment chaos by cutting power and water supplies and to identify receptive local communities, the officials said. They are being monitored through aerial surveillance and on-the-ground intelligence, but Libyan officials said they cannot easily be targeted without advanced air power of the kind used by the United States on Jan. 19, when B-2 bombers killed more than 80 militants in a strike southwest of Sirte. For more than...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/17)
Up to 18 players at the just-completed Africa Cup of Nations could be involved in the new-look CAF Champions League when it kicks off this weekend. Among them is Georges Bokwe, one of two unused goalkeepers in the Cameroon squad that defeated Egypt in the final last Sunday in Gabon. Bokwe was kept out of the starting line-up by the consistent brilliance of Spain-based Fabrice Ondoa, who was included in the team of the tournament. But Bokwe is the first choice for regular Champions League entrants Coton Sport from northern Cameroon cotton town Garoua. Coton qualified for the 2008 final, losing to Al Ahly of Egypt, but have fared poorly recently with first round exits in the past two seasons...

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