Wednesday 18 October 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Talks between representatives of rival authorities in strife-torn Libya have hit a new snag after a parliamentary delegation suspended its participation in the UN-backed discussions hosted by Tunisia. Years of political turmoil since the 2011 overthrow of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi have left Libya divided between rival governments and beset by violence as militia forces battle for power. The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli since March 2016, has struggled to impose its authority across the country, particularly in the far east, dominated by military strongman Khalifa Haftar who supports a rival parliament.
(Xinhuanet 10/17/17)
Libya's eastern-based army commander General Khalifa Haftar has officially announced plans to liberate the capital Tripoli from control of militias. Haftar, while addressing a large crowd of army officers in the eastern city of Benghazi, said that "only a few areas of no more than 30,000 square km are out of the control of the army." "The area of Libya is 1.76 million square km. The army now controls 1.73 million square km. There is little left for the army to control all of Libya," Haftar said. Haftar revealed that the army had taken control of parts of the western region stretching from Zwara on the border with Tunisia to the city of Zawya, some 30 km west of Tripoli...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians...
(AFP (eng) 10/13/17)
The UN human rights chief warned Thursday that serious violations were "endemic" in many detention centres in Libya, but said he was "optimistic" that authorities were intent on improving the situation. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who this week became the first UN rights chief to make an official visit to Libya, welcomed commitments he received from authorities, including Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, and the ministers of Justice and Interior, to address a wide range of abuses. But he warned that...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/11/17)
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is seeking to reopen its embassy in Libya pending security conditions, officials said on Tuesday, offering further political support for the Tripoli government struggling to establish control. EU leaders will announce at their summit in Brussels on Oct. 19-20 that they “encourage work underway to rapidly establish a permanent EU presence in Libya”, according to their draft joint statement seen by Reuters. But the statement makes clear no such move is imminent as it...
(Xinhuanet 10/11/17)
Libya's United Nations (UN)-backed Prime Minister Fayez Serraj said Wednesday the decisive solution to the illegal immigration issue lies in achieving stability in Libya. Serraj made his remarks during a meeting with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid bin Ra'ad al-Hussein, in the Libyan capital Tripoli. "The problem of illegal immigration worries us as a transit country that bears great burdens in the current difficult situation," Serraj said. "The government of national accord prepared plans and programs in coordination with friendly countries to secure the southern border, through which illegal immigrants and smugglers flow," he said, pointing out that reports revealed "terrorist elements among immigrants." "Stability could provide legitimate employment...
(AFP (eng) 10/10/17)
TUNIS/TRIPOLI (Reuters) - U.N. agencies said on Monday they were trying to provide urgent help to large numbers of migrants held and then stranded in the smuggling hub of Sabratha as rival factions battled for control of the city. At least 4,000 migrants, including pregnant women, newborn babies and unaccompanied children, have been transferred from informal camps and housing to a hangar in the city since the clashes ended on Friday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said. The U.N...
(AFP (eng) 10/07/17)
A security force loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government announced Friday that it has driven a rival militia out of the city of Sabratha, after three weeks of deadly fighting. The clashes between a security force loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and the militia of the head of a former people smuggling network, Ahmad Dabbashi, have killed 39 people and wounded 300 since September 17. Sabratha has been "liberated and... the destructive militias have been defeated",...
(AFP (eng) 10/06/17)
Libyan authorities on Thursday demanded an explanation from Britain's foreign minister Boris Johnson over his remark on the need to "clear dead bodies" away in the strife-torn North African country. The foreign secretary has already come under fire at home over his assessment of an August visit to Libya that the country could attract foreign investment and tourists after the corpses from fighting were cleared. Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord, met the British ambassador Peter Millett to demand an explanation of the "unacceptable" comment, according to the GNA's Facebook page.
(Reuters (Eng) 10/05/17)
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - The foreign affairs committee of Libya’s eastern-based parliament demanded an apology on Thursday from British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson over a remark about clearing dead bodies from the former Islamic State stronghold of Sirte. Johnson told members of his Conservative Party earlier this week that British investors had a “brilliant vision” to turn Sirte into the next Dubai if bodies could be cleared. The committee for foreign affairs and international cooperation of Libya’s House of Representatives (HOR) denounced the comments on Sirte as “unacceptable”, adding that “it considers it a violation of Libyan sovereignty to talk about British businessmen investing there”.
(AFP (eng) 10/04/17)
British foreign minister Boris Johnson came under fire Tuesday for saying Libya could become a magnet for tourists and investors -- if it can "clear the dead bodies away" first. Reflecting on his August visit to Libya, strife-torn since the toppling of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, Johnson said British businesses wanted to invest in the city of Sirte. "They have got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte into the next Dubai," he told Conservatives attending the party's annual...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/04/17)
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson quipped on Tuesday that Libya can become a new Dubai if it can clear the dead bodies away, the latest gaffe by Britain’s top diplomat. Johnson, who has offended some allies with flippant remarks, told Conservative Party members that the Libyan city of Sirte could be turned into the next Dubai by British investors if they could clear the bodies. “They’ve got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte, with the help...
(AFP (eng) 10/03/17)
A Libyan man accused of masterminding the 2012 attack in Benghazi that killed a US ambassador and three of his staff went on trial in Washington on Monday, although his lawyers said he was simply a witness to the deadly events. Sporting a white shirt and a long beard, Ahmed Abu Khattala, 46, sat beside his lawyers in court listening to an Arabic translation of the proceedings through a headset. The surprise attack on the US diplomatic mission in the...
(AFP (eng) 10/02/17)
Representatives of Libya's rival authorities have made progress on amending a deal on a political transition for the North African country, the special UN envoy said on Sunday. UN envoy Ghassan Salame opened new talks in Tunisia between the rival Libyan administrations on Tuesday, less than a week after presenting a plan to end the chaos in the conflict-wracked country. Years of political turmoil since the 2011 overthrow of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi have left Libya divided between rival governments...
(AFP (eng) 09/30/17)
Two weeks of clashes between rival armed groups in the city of Sabratha sparked by a lethal shooting at a checkpoint have left 26 dead and 170 wounded, the health ministry said Friday. The ministry said on its Facebook page that the toll, the first official casualty count for the fighting, was compiled by a follow-up commission on the violence in Sabratha, a hub for illegal migration on Libya's Mediterranean coast. The clashes since September 17 have pitted a security...
(AFP (eng) 09/30/17)
Two tribal leaders and two other men were killed when their car was riddled with bullets Friday as they returned from a mediation mission in central Libya, local sources said. The Warfalla tribal clan, one of the country's largest, said on its Facebook page that two sheikhs, Abdullah Nattat and Khamis Isbaga, died along with two companions. The men were on their way home to Bani Walid after a mediation mission in Mizda, 180 kilometres (110 miles) south of the...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/29/17)
Libya’s eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar was quoted on Friday as saying force must remain an option for imposing order in the country, though he added that a political solution would be preferable. Libya has been mired in turmoil since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ended Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, giving space to Islamist militants and smuggling networks that have sent hundreds of thousands of migrants to Europe via Italy. Italy and other Western states have tried to work with...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/28/17)
A government based in eastern Libya said on Wednesday it would bar entry to U.S. citizens after President Donald Trump’s administration included Libya in a new travel ban. The eastern-based government of Abdullah al-Thinni is aligned with Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar and is opposed to the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. Announcing its ban, the eastern-based government said it was responding to “a dangerous escalation that targets Libyan citizens and puts them in the same...
(Xinhuanet 09/28/17)
Libya's interim government on Wednesday announced it would ban entry of U.S. citizens into Libyan territory in response to a decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to suspend the entry of Libyans. The eastern government called in a statement the move by the United States a "serious escalation" targeting Libyans, accusing the United States of placing Libyans "in the same place with terrorists, whom the Libyan armed forces are fighting with the help of the Libyan people." It added that...
(AFP (eng) 09/27/17)
Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar met Italy's defence minister and security chiefs in Rome Tuesday, bolstering his stature as a key player in international efforts to stabilise his troubled country. Forces under Haftar's command provide backing for a Tobruk-based adminstration that controls much of the east and south of the oil and gas-rich country. Former colonial power Italy has hitherto been the strongest backer among Western allies for the UN-recognised Government of National Unity, which is based in Tripoli and...

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