UN experts: Darfur rebel groups make money in Libya
U.N. experts say rebel groups in Darfur that signed a peace agreement with the Sudanese government in 2020 continue to operate in Libya and profit from opportunities provided by the civil war and lack of government control in the oil-rich north African nation.
EU top diplomats in Libya to support interim authorities
German foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks in Tripoli, Libya, Thursday, March 25, 2021. The European foreign ministers also called on mercenaries and foreign fighters to leave the country immediately. Ad“This (withdrawal) is indispensable so that Libya can regain its sovereignty and security,” said France’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. “We have talked about the tasks ahead and about how we can concretely support (Libya) where there is a wish for it,” said Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. EU top diplomats also stressed the need to reopen the country's Mediterranean coastal road linking the east and the west.
Libyans mark 2011 uprising with eyes on interim government
(AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)TRIPOLI – Libyans on Wednesday marked the 10th anniversary of their 2011 uprising that led to the overthrow and killing of longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi. Many have their eyes on a recently appointed government tasked with leading Libya through elections later this year, with hopes of unifying the divided nation. Celebrations began late on Tuesday in the capital, Tripoli, where people gathered in the city's main square amid tight security. AdThere were also celebrations in the eastern city of Benghazi, once known as the birthplace of Libya’s 2011 uprising. AdLibya has become one of the most intractable conflicts, along with Yemen and Syria, left over from the 2011 uprisings.
Libya's future in balance in UN-backed leadership vote
The voting process is taking place under the mediation of the U.N. secretary-general’s acting special representative for Libya, Stephanie Williams. The prime minister is to be chosen by the candidate winning 70% of votes. Twenty-four candidates are running for the presidential council posts. Libya’s top judge, Mohammed al-Hafi's candidacy for the presidential council has stirred up controversy. The country's Judges’ Association decried the move, saying he should have retired before running,AdTwenty-one candidates are running for prime minister, including Fathi Bashaga, the powerful interior minister in Tripoli, and Ahmed Meitig, deputy prime minister of the U.N.-supported government.
Libyan factions sign countrywide UN-brokered cease-fire
The United Nations said Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, that the two sides in Libyan military talks had reached a "historic achievement" with a permanent cease-fire agreement across the war-torn North African country. The agreement also involves the formation of a joint military force and a way to monitor violations, Williams said. “I appeal to all Libya: Be one hand,” he added, warning of polarization by factions. To maintain the cease-fire, the two sides agreed to establish a “joint police operations room” that will help secure areas following the withdrawal of armed groups. The rivals also agreed to form a “joint limited military force" of personnel who report to the U.N.'s Joint Military Commission.
UN chief urges Libya cease-fire, warns its future at stake
“The violations of the embargo are a scandal and call into question the basic commitment to peace of all involved,” he told the closed meeting. “There are nine countries that are intervening in the Libyan conflict,” Williams said, without giving any names. The country has since split between rival east- and west-based administrations, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments. Military commander Khalifa Hifter and his self-styled army launched an offensive in April 2019, trying to capture Tripoli, the capital. The virtual meeting came amid international pressure on both sides to avert an attack on the strategic city of Sirte.
Russia, China block release of UN report criticizing Russia
TANZANIA – Russia and China blocked the official release of a report by U.N. experts on Libya that accused its warring parties and their international backers -- including Russia -- of violating a U.N. arms embargo on the conflict-wracked country, U.N. diplomats said Friday. Germany’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Günter Sautter, said he brought the issue to the Security Council after the two countries blocked the report’s release by the committee monitoring sanctions on Libya, which Germany heads. “Many delegations have asked for the publication of the panel of experts’ interim report,” he said. But finding a replacement acceptable to all Security Council diplomats has proven exceedingly difficult. Germany's Sautter said the Security Council has agreed that there will be a special envoy “and we need an agreement urgently on who that is going to be."
Experts: Libya rivals UAE, Russia, Turkey violate UN embargo
The warring parties in Libya and their international backers the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Jordan vs Turkey and Qatar violated a U.N. arms embargo on the oil-rich north African country that remains totally ineffective, U.N. experts said in a new report. The experts said the Wagner group transferred armed private military operatives and military equipment into Libya to support Hifters military operations, including two armored personnel carriers. The panel of experts said the resupply of both sides by air was extensive, with flights from the UAE to western Egypt and eastern Libya, and from Russia via Syria to eastern Libya to reinforce Hifters forces and from Turkey to western Libya to reinforce the government. AP emails to the U.N. missions of the UAE, Russia, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Qatar got no response. Allegations regarding any violation by Turkey of sanctions are baseless, said the spokesperson who was not authorized to be identified by name.
Macron condemns Turkey's 'criminal' actions in Libya
PARIS French President Emmanuel Macron lashed out Monday against Turkey's criminal responsibility in Libya. Speaking during a visit to Germany, Macron strongly condemned Turkey's actions in Libya as unacceptable.He said Turkey doesn't respect any of its commitments." France accused Turkey of repeated violations of the U.N. arms embargo and of importing Syrian fighters to Libya. Macron also condemned interference in Libya from Russian private military contractor Wagner. Libya has been in turmoil since 2011 when a NATO-backed uprising toppled leader Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed.
Putin, Macron discuss closer cooperation in video call
Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to French President Emmanuel Macron during a via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, June 26, 2020. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)MOSCOW Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed international crises during a video call Friday and vowed to cooperate more closely to tackle global challenges in a video call Friday. We in Russia will never forget the French people who fought alongside our soldiers on the Eastern Front, Putin said. The French president paid tribute to the Soviet Union's role in World War II. Responding to an invitation from Putin to come to Russia, Macron said hed be happy to visit so we could spend a lot more time together, but only if health conditions allow, possibly at the end of summer.
Turkey says will work with Italy for Libya peace, slams EU
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, and Italy's Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio say goodbye by using their elbows after their joint press conference, in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, June 19, 2020. Turkey says the EUs naval operation dubbed Irini is focusing its efforts on the Tripoli-based administration and not enough on Hifters forces who launched an offensive in April 2019 to capture the capital. We will continue to work with Italy for a last peace and a solution-oriented political process, Cavusoglu told reporters, praising Italy for what he described as its balanced stance on Libya. He maintained that the operation ignores alleged constant arms transfers to Hifter by France.Cavusoglus comments come amid growing tensions between Turkey and France over Libya. He also defended the EU naval operation, describing it as balanced.The aim is to control the arrival of all armaments, Di Maio said.
Turkey the key to unlocking NATO help for EU naval operation
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks during an online news conference following a video conference of European Foreign and Defense Ministers meeting at the Europa building in Brussels, Tuesday, June 16, 2020. The operation - dubbed Irini, the Greek word for peace - was launched on April 1. He said the personnel contacted the Turkish and Tanzanian authorities to try to verify the information, and they also informed the United Nations. We cannot do anything more than to transmit this information to the United Nations. It is the United Nations who gathers this information in order to control the implementation of the arms embargo.
Pope Francis urges end of fighting, aid to migrants in Libya
VATICAN CITY Pope Francis on Sunday urged political and military leaders in Libya to end their hostilities and called on the international community to take to heart the plight of migrants trapped in the lawless nation. He said thousands of migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people are more vulnerable to forms of exploitation and violence.There is cruelty, the pope said, departing from prepared remarks. Libya has been in turmoil since 2011 when a civil war toppled long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed. The country has since split between rival administrations in the east and the west, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments. After Gadhafi's fall and killing, Libya also emerged as a major transit point for African and Arab migrants fleeing war and poverty to Europe.
UN chief shocked at Libya mass graves in recently freed town
TANZANIA U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed deep shock late Friday at the discovery of mass graves in Libyan territory recently recaptured from forces commanded by Khalifa Hifter, and called for a transparent investigation. The U.N. chief also called on Libyas U.N.-supported government to secure the mass graves, identify the victims, establish the causes of death and return the bodies to next of kin. The discoveries have raised fears about the extent of human rights violations in territories controlled by Hifters forces, given the difficulties of documentation in an active war zone. Philippe Nassif, Amnesty Internationals director for the Middle East and North Africa, said the group was working to verify the mass killings. Libya has been in turmoil since 2011 when a civil war toppled long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed.
UN: Libya's warring sides have agreed to restart peace talks
(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, File)CAIRO The United Nations said Libya's warring factions have agreed to resume cease-fire talks, following days of heavy fighting and eastern-based forces retaking a key town from their rivals after a string of setbacks. Their troops were chasing Tripoli-allied forces to their stronghold in the nearby town of Gharyan, he added. A statement for the Tripoli-allied forces did not acknowledge the defeat, with spokesman Mohamed Gnono saying only that they were targeting LAAF forces on the towns borders. The Tripoli government had been struggling to fend off a yearlong siege of the capital by Hifter's forces when Turkey escalated its air support. Hifter is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia, while the Tripoli-allied militias are aided by Turkey, Qatar and Italy.
US: Russian jets in Libya present broader worries for region
WASHINGTON U.S. Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia's longer term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. In an interview with a small group of reporters, Hadfield said the new fighter aircraft have not yet been used. But he said they will have to be flown either by pilots from Russia or contractors employed by Wagner. Another concern, said Hadfield, is that there also are Russian surface-to-air missiles there. Eastern European nations have been increasingly concerned about Russia's expanding military involvement and incursions in the region, on NATO's southern flank.
Top lawmaker denies that Russia sent warplanes to Libya
MOSCOW A senior Russian lawmaker on Wednesday strongly rejected the U.S. military's claim that Russia has deployed fighter jets to Libya to support east-based forces in their offensive on the capital, Tripoli. Viktor Bondarev, the former Russian air force chief who heads the defense committee in the upper house of parliament, dismissed the claim by the U.S. Africa Command as "stupidity." If the warplanes are in Libya, they are Soviet, not Russian, he said. The U.S. Africa Command said Tuesday the Russian military aircraft arrived in Libya recently from an airbase in Russia via Syria, where they were repainted to hide their Russian origin. Hifter is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia, while the Tripoli-allied militias are aided by Turkey, Qatar and Italy.