Saturday 20 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed regret on Thursday to African ambassadors who were outraged by President Donald Trump's alleged description of African countries as "shithole" nations, the head of the African Group said. Haley asked to meet the African ambassadors at the United Nations after they released a joint statement on Friday demanding an apology from Trump for his "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks." Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, who chairs the Africa Group, said the US ambassador did not offer an apology during the closed-door meeting, but she did express regret. Haley told the meeting that "she was not there at the White House, she is not sure what was said, but...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The United Nations' political chief held talks on Thursday with the head of Libya's parliament about elections to be held under a UN plan to stabilise the strife-ridden country. Jeffrey Feltman, who is on a tour of Libya and Tunisia, travelled to the eastern town of Al-Qobba where the parliament is based for the meeting with speaker Aguila Saleh. "The meeting, attended by the UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, focused on the elections scheduled for this year," said parliament spokesman Abdallah Bleheq. The elections "should meet the expectations of the people and appease the various political actors", he told AFP. A 2015 UN-brokered deal that saw the establishment of a Government of National Accord was meant to calm years...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The African Union said Friday that President Donald Trump's reported description of African nations as "shithole countries" broke with "accepted behaviour" and was "extremely upsetting." Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, told AFP that Trump's statement "truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice." "This is not only hurtful, I think, to people of African origin in the United States, but certainly to African citizens," she said. "It's an extremely upsetting statement," she added. The comment was reportedly made during a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
President Donald Trump reportedly lashed out in a Thursday meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform, demanding to know why the US should accept citizens from what he called "shithole" countries. The comments, first reported by The Washington Post, sparked anger among Democrats and Republicans and revived questions about Trump's tendency to make racially charged remarks. Trump sat down with senators and congressmen at the White House to discuss a proposed bipartisan deal that would limit immigrants from bringing family members...
(AFP (eng) 01/10/18)
The United Nations' political affairs chief traveled to Libya on Tuesday seeking progress in a new UN push to unite the country and end years of chaos. Jeffrey Feltman, the UN under-secretary of state for political affairs, will also travel to neighboring Tunisia during his visit until Friday, said a UN statement. The United Nations has launched a plan to bring stability to Libya through elections and changes to a 2015 political deal that set up a government of national...
(AFP (eng) 01/08/18)
Two women were found dead and 290 migrants rescued from two boats off the coast of Libya on Sunday, the navy said. The migrants were rescued off the coast of Garabulli, 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of Tripoli, then taken to the capital, naval officer Meftah al-Zlitni said. He did not give further details on how the women had died. They had left Libya Saturday evening on a makeshift craft with 140 other migrants from various African countries, but their...
(AFP (eng) 01/06/18)
Armed groups clashed Friday in western Libya, forcing the closure of a key border crossing with Tunisia, an official and a military commander said. The clashes took place near the Ras Jedir border post, the main crossing between western Libya and southeastern Tunisia. The crossing has been controlled by militias from the western port city of Zuwara since the fall of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011 in a NATO-backed revolt. On Friday, a force set up by the country's United Nations-backed unity government to stabilise Libya's west attacked in a bid to seize the crossing, said an official from Zuwara...
(AFP (eng) 12/29/17)
Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar has said he will support 2018 elections in the war-torn country but also implied he would seize power if the polls did not occur. Late Thursday, Haftar said presidential and parliamentary elections were "a fundamental solution" to Libya's crisis and should be held "without delay or fraud". Oil-rich Libya has been wracked by chaos since a 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi. A UN-backed unity government in Tripoli has failed to impose its authority...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/29/17)
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Eastern Libyan forces have retaken from Islamist fighters the last district of Benghazi, the country’s second largest city, military officials said. The battle for Benghazi, waged between forces led by General Khalifa Haftar and an array of Islamist militants and other fighters, has been part of a broader conflict since Libya slipped into turmoil following the 2011 fall of strongman Muammar Gaddafi. Haftar had declared victory in July but fighting continued in one area, Khreibish. Commander...
(AFP (eng) 12/26/17)
The foreign minister of Italy, which has been helping Libya to combat illegal immigration to Europe, made a brief visit to Tripoli on Saturday. Angelino Alfano met officials of Libya's UN-backed unity government and paid a call at Tripoli port to an Italian naval vessel whose crew has been assisting the Libyan coastguard. Italy's Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said earlier this month his country could "hold its head high" over its treatment of migrants, after rights group Amnesty International accused...
(AFP (eng) 12/22/17)
France's foreign minister on Thursday urged Libya's unity government to act on a United Nations plan for 2018 elections and a national dialogue to stabilise the war-torn country. "This calendar is the indispensable political solution for Libya and it must be implemented now with the utmost speed," Jean-Yves Le Drian said after talks in Tripoli with Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Government of National Accord. Oil-rich Libya has been wracked by chaos since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled longtime...
(AFP (eng) 12/20/17)
Two years after a deal to form a unity government aimed at ending deep divisions between Libya's opposing sides, the country remains mired in crisis with no solution in sight. The UN-brokered agreement signed in Morocco in December 2015 establishing a Government of National Accord (GNA) brought hopes of an easing of chaos that followed the 2011 revolution. But Libya has remained riven by divisions between the GNA in Tripoli led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and a rival administration...
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar insisted Sunday that the mandate of the country's UN-backed government has run out after what he said was the expiration of a tattered 2015 political deal. The UN-brokered agreement signed in Morocco on December 17, 2015 established Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) for a one-year period, renewable only once. Despite that deal, Libya has remained divided between the GNA government in Tripoli led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and a rival administration backed by Haftar in the east. In a televised speech Haftar, who has never recognised the GNA's authority, said the "expiry of the Libyan political accord" marked a "historic and dangerous...
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
The mayor of Libya's third-largest city Misrata has been killed by unidentified assailants who abducted him as he returned from an official trip overseas, a security source said on Monday. Mohamad Eshtewi's body was found dumped in the street after he was kidnapped after leaving the airport in the western coastal city late on Sunday, the source said. The city hospital said it had received the mayor's body bearing gunshot wounds. His brother was with him in the car and...
(AFP (eng) 12/12/17)
Russia will "do everything necessary" to facilitate an agreement between rival camps in Libya to end the country's political crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday. "We will assist in resolving all questions in negotiations between Tripoli and Tobruk, with whom we are regularly in contact," Lavrov said at a press conference following a meeting with his Libyan counterpart Mohamad Taha Siala in Moscow. "Russia will do everything necessary to fully normalise the situation in Libya and in...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
The UN urgently appealed Monday for countries to take in 1,300 "extremely vulnerable" refugees stranded in Libya, following revelations of horrific abuse of migrants in the country. The UN refugee agency said there was a dire need for 1,300 resettlement places by the end of March 2018. "This is a desperate call for solidarity and humanity," Volker Turk, UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, said in a statement. "We need to get extremely vulnerable refugees out of Libya as soon...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
Italy and Libya will set up a joint commission in a bid to fight back against people traffickers and tackle the problem of illegal migration, the Tripoli government said Saturday. The announcement was made after talks in the Libyan capital between Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti and Libya's Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. Intelligence agents, coastguard and judicial officials from both countries will sit on the commission, Sarraj's office said in a statement. Human-trafficking networks have flourished in the chaos that followed a NATO-backed uprising which toppled long-time Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. Sarraj said on Thursday the number of migrants stranded in his country...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/11/17)
Libyan forces fighting in Benghazi have lost four men and seen 10 wounded so far in December, five months after declaring victory in a campaign to control the eastern city, a medical source said on Monday. Three of the dead from the Libyan National Army (LNA) were killed by snipers and one by a landmine as it faces resistance from a group of fighters in the Benghazi district of Khreibish. There have been daily clashes in the area and occasional...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
Up to 6,000 Africans who fought for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria could return home, the African Union's top security official warned Sunday, calling on countries to prepare for the threat. Smail Chergui, the AU's commissioner for peace and security, said African nations would need to work closely with each other and share intelligence to counter returning militants. "There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group...
(AFP (eng) 12/07/17)
Libya on Wednesday launched a UN-brokered effort to hold elections in the strife-torn country with a campaign to register new voters. Imed al-Sayeh, head of the country's High National Election Commission (HNEC), announced the launch in Tripoli alongside the UN envoy Ghassan Salame. The campaign aims to add at least one million new voters to the 1.5 million Libyans already on a 2014 electoral register, Sayeh told a news conference. The head of the HNEC, regarded as one of Libya's few credible and independent institutions since a 2011 revolution that toppled Moamer Kadhafi, said the process was expected to run for two months.

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