Category Archives: Conflict

Libya: Putin’s aid under sanctions

The Council today imposed targeted restrictive measures on one person engaged in and providing support for acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Libya, including through violations of the UN arms embargo. The sanctions imposed against this person comprise a travel ban and an asset freeze. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.

Russian citizen Yevgeny Prigozhin participates and helps the activities of the Wagner PMC in Libya, which threatens peace, stability and security in the country. In particular, Wagner is involved in numerous and repeated violations of the arms embargo in Libya, established by the UN Security Council resolution, the EU document reads.

Restrictive measures include a travel ban to the European Union and an asset freeze.

In September, the UN committee of experts on overseeing the observance of sanctions accused 11 companies, including PMC Wagner, reportedly owned by Prigozhin, of violating the arms embargo on Libya. According to experts, in May Wagner company provided 800-1200 mercenaries to help the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar.

The media reports claimed that Russians from Prigozhin’s company are not only training soldiers of the army of LNA Marshal Khalifa Haftar, but also participating in combat operations, and supporting them with logistics. Earlier this year, President Vladimir Putin suggested that there might be presence of Russians in Libya, adding that they “do not represent the interests of the Russian state.”

“If there (in Libya) there are Russian citizens, then they do not represent the interests of the Russian state,” Putin said during a press-conference in January 2020. They also “do not receive money from the Russian state,” he added.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly denied the presence of PMC Wagner’s mercenaries in the region. At the same time, Haftar’s LNA admitted that “a small number of Russians” help them with the maintenance of weapons. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also spoke about the presence of Russian fighters in Libya.

In addition to the Wagner PMC, the UN accused 10 more companies that provided logistical support to the LNA of violating the arms embargo. These are airlines registered in Kazakhstan, Syria, Ukraine, Tajikistan, as well as two companies from the UAE.

With this new designation, the EU now has imposed a travel ban on 16 listed individuals and an asset freeze on 20 persons and 19 entities.

The Council remains gravely concerned about the situation in Libya and in particular about the acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Libya, including through violations of the UN arms embargo, human rights abuses and violations as well as the attempted illicit export of petroleum from Libya.

The EU’s sanctions complement and reinforce the sanctions adopted by the UN, which include the UN arms embargo and individual measures, including for human rights abuses.

The relevant legal acts, including the names of the persons and entities concerned, have been published in the Official Journal.

Recently Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli has detained Abdalrahman al-Milad, a coastguard commander sanctioned by the United Nations for alleged human trafficking and migrant smuggling, its interior ministry said on Wednesday.

The ministry said it had detained Milad at the request of the U.N. Security Council and that it had referred the case to the public prosecutor to take legal measures against him.

Milad heads a coastguard unit in Zawiya, just west of Tripoli, and was one of six people sanctioned by the U.N. for involvement in people trafficking or smuggling in Libya two years ago.

Borrell promotes Berlin Process in Libya

The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell visited Libya on Tuesday 1st September for the first time since the beginning of his mandate in a move of support of the relentless efforts of the bloc to advance the political process and engage the conflicting parties in a meaningful dialogue to estalblish lasting peace.

Borrell met with the Chariman of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Faiez Serraj in Tripoli, whose status is argued by his foes, underlining that the mandate was given to him by Skhirat Agreement (17 December 2015) for one year, and has expired a long time ago.

The Hight Representative of EU has also met with Aguila Saleh in Al Qubah from the eastern Libya, the speaker of the House of Representatives, whose status is acknowled by the UN Security Council as the sole legislator of Libya.

In his meetings, Josep Borrell reiterated the EU’s support to an inclusive Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political resolution of the conflict and confirmed that Libya remains on top of the EU’s political agenda. He discussed the latest developments in the country, and conveyed EU’s strong and unwavering commitment to preserve Libya’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and national unity.

The visit of the High Representative took place shortly after the 21 August when both
Chairman Serraj and Speaker Saleh, although not jointly, but nevertheless in separate annoncements declared the for a ceasefire. The other issues of discussions were aimed at the next round of talks of 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) targeted at the ending the fighting in the country, return of foreign fighters, modalities for lifting the oil blockade, and the relaunch of the political process leading to an agreed reform and eventual elections.

In his meetings in Tripoli and Al Qubah, the Borrell welcomed the ceasefire and underlined the need for its prompt sustainable implementation. He was encouraged to hear the determination and commitment from his Libyan interlocutors to work in this direction, and to implement these principles in the framework of the UN-led Berlin process. This process, the EU top diplomat said, is the only international framework that offers a realistic opportunity for the political dialogue needed to bring the Libyan conflict to an end. Further the discussions focused on the required mediation efforts and de-escalation measures, including the enforcement of the UN arms embargo and EU operation Irini’s role in its implementation.

In the meeting with Chairman Serraj and his team members, the High Representative also discussed other issues of common concern, including migration management and the recent public demonstrations.

In Tripoli, Josep Borrell also met with the Chairman of the National Oil Corporation, Mustafa Sanalla to discuss the stressful situation of the oil blockade that urgently requires joint international resolve to prevent a collapse of Libya’s oil sector, which is crucial for Libya’s economy and the prosperity of its people.

During his talks in Al Qubah with Speaker Saleh, the High Representative got additional updates about the situation in eastern Libya and spoke about related prospects for a peaceful resolution of the Libyan conflict.

EU welcomes Libya ceasefire

“The European Union warmly welcomes the announcements issued on August 21, 2020 by the President of the Presidency Council Fayez Al-Serraj and Speaker of the House of Representatives Aguila Saleh. This is a constructive first step forward, which demonstrates the determination of the Libyan leaders to overcome the current stalemate and creates a new hope for a common ground towards a peaceful political solution to the longstanding Libyan crisis and the termination of all foreign interference throughout the country” reads the text of the declaration of the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell on behalf of the EU27.

A positive step in Libya. The European Union warmly welcomes the announcements issued yesterday by the President of the Presidency Council Fayez Al-Serraj and Speaker of the House of Representatives Aguila Saleh” Borrell tweets.

“We fully support the agreement around the principles to immediately cease all military activities across Libya, requiring the departure of all foreign fighters and mercenaries present in Libya, and resume the negotiating process in the framework of the UN-led Berlin process.

“We now urge all the Libyan parties, and all those supporting them in any form, to translate these principles into concrete actions on the ground leading to a permanent ceasefire, as part of the discussions within the 5+5 joint military committee and to relaunch the political process.

“We took note of the announcements regarding the lifting of the blockade on oil infrastructure. We now call for these announcements to be followed by concrete developments in terms of a full resumption at full capacity throughout the country in the interest of all the Libyan people, along with the implementation of economic reforms with a view to agreeing on a fair and transparent distribution mechanism for oil revenues and to enhancing the governance of Libyan economic and financial institutions.

“The European Union reiterates its full support to the UN and the Libyans in implementing these principles. We reaffirm our commitment to the Libyan people in their efforts to establish a sovereign, united, stable and prosperous country”.

The Tripoli-based and UN and EU recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) published a statement that also calls for elections in March next year.

The truce was agreed by an ally of Marshall Khalifa Haftar, who controls the east and south of Libya.
Libya has been riven by violence since Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the leader, was deposed by Nato-backed forces in 2011.

Libya’s warring rival administrations announced they would cease all hostilities and hold nationwide elections separately.

France to pursue Barkhane operation in Sahel

France will pursue its military counter terrorist operations in Mali against Islamist insurgence despite the ousting of the country’s President two days ago by a coup d’état, the French armed force minister Florence Parly announced.

“The Barkhane operation, asked for by the Mali population and authorised by the U.N. Security Council, continues,” Florence Parly wrote on her offical Twitter micro blog.

Barkahne is an ongoing anti-insurgent operation which started six years ago (August 1, 2014), and is led by the French military against Islamist militiants in Sahel region. At present France located around 5 000 miliatry there, under operational command of headquarts in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.

“Barkhane brought a remarkable tactics success, but it has not reached the strategic victory yet” said the French military expert Arnaud Danjean in his recent interview to Le Figaro newspaper.

The operation is lead in cooperation with five countries, and former French colonies, which has entered new partnership with a former metropol: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.These countries are collectively referred to as the “G5 Sahel”. A crescent-shaped dune in the Sahara desert named Barkhane became the name of this military mission.

There are aslo around 100 Estonian troops focus on protection for the Barkhane base, undertaking checkpoints, providing escorts and conducting patrols. The need for strengthinging vigilance was put forward in 2019, when troops thwarted a suicide car bomb and gun attack at the Gao camp. Six Estonian personnel were injured in the incident.

Mozambique troops attempt to regain Mocimboa da Praia

Mozambique security forces were engaged in a heavy battle with Islamist insurgents to regain control of a strategic port Mocimboa da Praia in a gas-rich northern province, Defence Minister Jaime Neto said.

Neto has announced the operation a day after the Islamists staged an early morning attack and captured the port town of Mocimboa da Praia.

“At this moment, the defence and security forces are trying to control the situation,” Neto said to press in the capital Maputo. “However, it remains tense and fluid.”

The militants had infiltrated various neighbourhoods disguised in civilian clothes, before unleashing terror, looting and killing government troops and civilians, Neto underlined.

The assault was the latest and the most pertinent in a chain of intensifying attacks that have plagued the country’s northern region since 2017.

Authorities at Mozambique’s defence forces (FDS) confirmed that “terrorists” had launched “sequenced attacks” on several villages surrounding the port over the past week in an operation aiming to occupy the town.

Striking Mocimboa da Praia for a third time this year, the brazen attack was orchestrated a stone’s throw from the heart of the site of natural gas projects worth billions of dollars.

Mocimboa da Praia lies less than 80 kilometres south of Afungi peninsula where a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, one of Africa’s biggest single investment projects, is located.

The port in the Cabo Delgado province is a major traffic hub for the gas project.

The attacks in Cabo Delgado have displaced more than 250,000 people and caused more than 1500 deaths, according to the ACLED Data Project.

The attacks started in Mocimboa da Praia in 2017 and have since spread to massive swathes of Cabo Delgado.

The latest attack — the third on the town this year — was claimed by the Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP).

The IS-affiliated group has the stated goal of establishing a Caliphate in the region.

In spite of the drop in oil prices and the global pandemic crisis, French company Total signed a $14.9bn senior debt financing agreement for Mozambique LNG on 17 July, after acquiring the asset from US-based Anadarko in September 2019.

The Mozambique LNG project involves plans to construct the country’s first onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, including the development of the Golfinho and Atum gas fields located within the Offshore Area 1 concession in Cabo Delgado Province, in northern Mozambique, as well as the construction of a two-train liquefaction plant with a total capacity of 13.1 million tonnes per annum.

South Sudan: scores killed in disarmament operation

Scores of people have been killed in the South Sudan region of Warrap State following heavy fighting between armed civilians and government forces carrying out a disarmament exercise, the military’s spokesman said on August 11. While initatlly Reuters news agency repored 81 dead, the Eye Radio has later announced 127 casualtes. General Lul Ruai said that also 31 servicemen were also wounded.

On Monday, August 10,local officials said dozens of people were killed in Luanyjang County when armed civilians clashed with government forces.

Lul Ruai Koang said that the two-day clashes erupted over the weekend after some armed youths in the Greater Tonj area started engaging the security forces.

It was not immediately clear what triggered the fight, he said, adding that an investigation has been started.

“Among the dead are 55 members of the security forces and 26 civilians. Another 31 servicemen were also wounded,” Koang said, adding that the death toll could rise.

The military headquarters is urging the educators, legislators, local chiefs and residents of Warrap state to support the disarmament exercise to ensure restoring peace and security.

Last week, the South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms suggested that the communities may resist disarmament if the government does not offer them and their cattle enough protection.

The wounded security personnel were flown to the military hospital in the capital Juba for treatment, he said, adding that calm had returned to the area as authorities restored order.

The national government, formed this year after a deal to end a conflict that broke out in 2013, launched a disarmament exercise in Tonj county last month, saying that armed militias in the area were driving inter-communal violence.

Burkina Faso: gunmen attacked cattle market

A group of gunmen killed about 20 people in an attack on a cattle market in eastern Burkina Faso on August 7, the government said in a statement.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack in the village of Fada N’Gourma, around which the army is conducting a search operation.

An eye witness who was at the scene at the time of the attack told to local press: “About ten men came on motorcycles with weapons. I was buying poultry as usual. They passed us and headed for the sheep and oxen buyers. Everything was going well when suddenly we heard the crackling of guns. Everyone fled to hide. And soon after, the guns were silent and in their places the screams pierced the sky. Without trying to confirm or know anything, we all fled to get into the stock market place. When we returned, there were bodies and many injured. Seized with fear and panic, I quickly returned to Fada.”

Armed jihadist groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State have killed hundreds of people in attacks over the last year in Sahelian country, forced more than half a million to flee, and eroded government control in most areas outside the capital.

The similar massacre took place in May, when a gumen opened fire killing 25 people in an attack on another cattle market in the eastern village of Kompienga.

Image: illustration, Burkina Faso village.

Darfour: scores of killed and injured

Reports of killings of more than 60 people and nearly 60 others wounded during an armed attack in a village in Sudan’s fragile Darfur region on July 25, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

The attack in Masteri village in the West Darfur state “was one of the latest of a series of security incidents reported over the last week that left several villages and houses burned, markets and shops looted, and infrastructure damaged,” the U.N. body announced in a statement. It did not reveal the source of its information.

There was no official word from the government on the incident and Reuters was not able to reach officials for comment.

Sudan authorities made clear they would deploy joint forces from various state security services in Darfur after renewed violence there recently, SUNA, the state news agency, reported.

The forces will be deployed to the region’s five states “to protect people and secure the agriculture season”, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said during a meeting in Khartoum with a delegation of women from Darfur.

The country’s Security and Defense Council has underlined the importance of “using the force necessary to save lives and property, confront all forms of lawlessness and support equal citizenship rights,” it said after a meeting on Sunday, July 26.

In a separate incident, at least 20 people died and 22 others were injured after gunmen from an unidentified militia attacked a village in the state of South Darfur, witnesses and a local community leader said during the weekend.

On Sunday,July 26, three people, including a woman, were killed during a renewed dispute between farmers and shepherds in the Al-Jarf area in North Darfur state, SUNA reported, adding that security forces intervened and separated the two sides.

Recent violence by militias in North Darfur prompted authorities to declare a state of emergency on July 13.

“The escalation of violence in different parts of Darfur region is leading to increased displacement, compromising the agricultural season, causing loss of lives and livelihoods and driving growing humanitarian needs,” the United Nations said.

The conflict started in Darfur, in the west of Sudan, in 2003 after mostly non-Arab rebels rose up against the Khartoum government. Government forces and mainly Arab militia, which moved to suppress the revolt, were accused of widespread atrocities.
According to different international official sources more than 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, according to U.N. estimates.

21:20 AMENDMENT:

Increased inter-communal violence in several parts of Darfur has claimed more than 60 lives in West Darfur in recent days. All violence must be prevented and the perpetrators of these acts must be brought to justice. These incidents further underscore the need for continued engagement to protect civilians in Sudan and to respond to local demands for security, accountability and protection. The EU stands ready to support the civilian-led transitional government in its efforts to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Sudanese people. Much of the EU’s development cooperation in Sudan focuses in particular on peripheral areas, in particular Darfur, in order to foster peace” the European External Actions Service spokesperson said, reacting upon evens in Darfour.

Libya: Macron expresses «grave concerns»

We met today in Brussels on the sidelines of the European Council to discuss the situation in Libya. We share serious concerns about rising military tensions in that country and the increased risk of regional escalation. We therefore call on all the Libyan parties and their foreign supporters to immediately cease the fighting and end the ongoing military escalation across the country” reads the text of the statement of President of France Macron, issued during the European Summit in Brussels on July 18.

We also call on all foreign actors to end their growing interference and to fully respect the arms embargo established by the United Nations Security Council. We take our responsibilities and are determined to ensure the full effectiveness of Operation Irini in order to prevent any escalation on the ground. We are ready to consider a possible use of sanctions if embargo violations at sea, on land or in the air continue and look forward to the proposals that the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and security policy will do to this end.

We support the efforts of the United Nations to obtain the signing of a lasting and credible ceasefire agreement within the framework of the negotiations under way within the 5 + 5 Committee. At this critical moment, we also encourage the United Nations to explore all options to reduce tensions, including those of a large disengagement of forces or even possible demilitarization in certain regions. We reaffirm the need for a special representative of the Secretary-General in Libya to be appointed promptly.

We remind all Libyan and international parties that a political settlement to the Libyan crisis must be fully inclusive and based on the conclusions of the Berlin Conference. We also recall that it is necessary to quickly lift the oil blockade and to guarantee a fair and transparent distribution of oil revenues for the benefit of all Libyans”.

Libya: Borrell on foreign interfiernece

The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell insisted on need to «stop all interferences fuelling the conflict and join forces to support an inclusive, Libyan-owned and Libyan-led process leading to a political solution». In the statement on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya he said the following:

«…The protracted conflict in Libya caused immense suffering for all Libyans and has become a major challenge for the region and ultimately the international community.

https://twitter.com/euatun/status/1280976520597639168?s=21

As European Union, we believe it is high time to put an end to this military conflict, right on our doorstep, and manage a proper transition in Libya. We must preserve the country as one single Libya -a united, stable, prosperous and reliable partner for all.

This meeting brings together all countries which have the capacity, if genuinely committed, to contribute to a political transition in Libya. We all took strong commitments in the Berlin conference in January; it is now time to translate our words into concrete actions. We need to work collectively, under a strong United Nations leadership, to implement truly the conclusions of Berlin, which everybody accepted. The polarisation, which has turned Libya into a theatre of proxy wars, needs to stop. Actions in support of one or the other Libyan party fuel the conflict, and some constitute clear provocations. Unilateral initiatives go against the spirit of the consensual international dialogue which Libya urgently needs and which we need to encourage.

“…We must go back to our Berlin-commitments, starting with the enforcement of the United Nations arms embargo, which unfortunately continues to be violated on all sides and every day, in all impunity, as we heard from the United Nations and as Heiko [Maas, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany] has recalled. And we need a collective effort to favour the return of the Libyan parties to the negotiating table, starting with the UN-led 5+5 military talks to reach an agreement on a sustainable ceasefire. And we support the initiative to de-militarise the conflict around Sirte and Jufra.

We, the European Union, are doing our part. I have promoted a strong European Union commitment to the Berlin process, to respect and implement what we all agreed. That is why we launched Operation Irini, with core tasks to implement the United Nations arms embargo and to stop the flow of weapons into Libya, as well as to monitor oil smuggling. We are reporting regularly to the United Nations Panel of Experts on the basis of the mandate given by the United Nations Security Council. It is also clear that control of arms flow into Libya requires action beyond the maritime domain. But for that, the United Nations Security Council should enlarge the mandate.

As co-chair of the Economic group, we also hope to find a sustainable solution for the exploitation of oil resources in Libya, a key issue in the conflict, which is directly linked to the increasing build-up of presence in Sirte. And that is of utmost importance, all of the European help to Libya is the equivalent of the oil revenues that Libya could generate in one week.

Later this month, we will co-host the next international follow-up committee on Libya, where these discussions can continue».

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