Category Archives: Maghreb

Mogherini inaugurates EU premises in Tripoli

EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini visited Libya today to inaugurate the premises of the European Union Delegation to Libya and the EU Border Assistance Mission in Tripoli, and in view of the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday where the situation in Libya is on the agenda.

In Libya, the European Union is the main humanitarian aid provider, the main supporter of the UN agencies’ programmes, the main bilateral cooperation donor as well as the first economic partner. The return of the diplomatic presence of the EU in Libya will further strengthen the cooperation with the government, the local authorities and the United Nations, and the implementation of projects on the ground.

During her visit, Federica Mogherini met with ChairmanFayez Sarraj, accompanied by the Foreign Minister Siala, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Ghassan Salamé, representatives of UN agencies – IOM, UNHCR, UNDP, UNICEF – and some of the beneficiaries of EU financed projects.

In her meetings, Mogherini discussed the EU’s support to the country and the most effective ways to further strengthen it. She also addressed the most recent developments in Libya,  including in the Oil Crescent. High Representative Mogherini restated the European Union’s support for the Libyan political process, in the framework provided by the United Nations, including preparations for elections. She stressed the need to prepare elections on a solid legal and constitutional basis, and the need that the results are accepted by all.  Mogherini discussed during the meetings the support the EU is already providing for the preparation of elections and the additional assistance it is ready to mobilise to accompany this process.

On top of its political support to Libya, the European Union is the main provider of assistance to improve the lives of Libyan citizens and help them to rebuild their country politically, socially and economically. During the meetings, new initiatives in the areas of health, education, media, youth, support to municipalities, governance and security were discussed.

The close cooperation of the EU with the Libyan authorities and the United Nations agencies – namely the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) –  has allowed for assistance and protection to refugees, migrants and internally displaced people in the country, to save lives at sea and assist thousands of people to voluntarily return to their countries, while fighting against the trafficking of human beings. Federica Mogherini discussed with Prime Minister Sarraj the EU’s training of the Libyan coast guard through Operation Sophia, and the cooperation through EUBAM in supporting the authorities to manage the land borders, particularly in the South, also in the framework of regional initiatives.

They also discussed the successful work done by the Task Force established by the European Union, the African Union and the UN at the EU-African Union summit in Abidjan last November, that has led to assisted voluntary return of 20.000 irregular migrants from Libya to their countries of origin.

EU expects Egypt to respect fundamental freedoms

“With the new presidential mandate starting, we reiterate our support for Egypt’s sustainable stability, social and economic reforms as well as development, building on the ongoing constructive dialogue under our joint Partnership Priorities” – the European External Action Service (EEAS) reacted.

“Sustainable stability and security can only go hand in hand with the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, in line with Egypt’s Constitution and international obligations” – the EEAS statement continues.

“The increasing number of arrests of human rights defenders, political activists and bloggers in the latest weeks in Egypt is therefore a worrying development”.

“In a moment when Egypt is seeking to consolidate democracy and the rule of law, the respect for peaceful expression of opinion and of criticism is important. Those standing for fundamental rights and democracy should not be fearing reprisals. We expect the Egyptian authorities to respect Egypt’s Constitution and international obligations”.

 

 

Libya Quartet to meet in Cairo

EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini will be attending meeting of Libya Quartet hosted by the League of Arab States in Cairo. (Image: Tuyuri neighborhood in Sebha, south Libya, courtesy Claudia Gazzini)

The aim of the Libya Quartet is to support UN mediation and regional efforts and to accompany the process of the political transition in Libya, in full respect of Libyan ownership. On Monday, the Libya Quartet will  discuss progress in the UN mediation efforts, led by UNSG Special Representative Ghassan Salamé, and explore ways in which these key regional groupings can keep supporting this work.

A joint press conference will take place after the plenary meeting on Monday evening at 19.30 CET. EBS will provide audio-visual coverage.

NATO to enhance cooperation with Tunisia

NATO continues to work with Tunisia on a defence-capacity building package and this including the support  for the development of special operation forces, intelligence, – said Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO. “..We are also looking into other areas, like for instance border control and other areas which are relevant for the fight against terrorism” – Stoltenberg continued.

” The whole idea is that the best tool, or one of the best weapons we have against terrorism is to train local forces, to enable local governments to stabilise their own countries and to fight terrorism themselves. And therefore, the whole idea of projecting stability, stabilising our neighbourhood by training local forces, is one of the most important weapons we have against terrorism”.

Libya: Mogherini meets Salame

EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini received UN Special Representative for Libya Ghassan Salame in Brussels.

The diplomats discussed recent developments and the current situation in Libya. They reflected upon the implementation of the UN’s four-point action plan for Libya, on the political talks, national conference, constitution and elections, that the Mogherini put forward in September 2017.

Mogherini expressed her thanks and reiterated the EU’s full support to the work of the UN Special Representative in implementing the plan and in his efforts to help Libyans bring about unity and reconciliation in their country.

Both diplomats underlined the fruitful cooperation between the UN and the EU in support of Libya and its people, including on humanitarian issues and the preparation of the national conference and elections.

El-Sisi expects endorsement for his ongoing mandate

Polling stations will be open for three days and  Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, a former military commander, has urged Egyptians participate, hinting that he sees the election as a referendum on his four-year rule.

While many Egyptians regards the U.S.-allied leadership as vital factor to stability in a country where unrest since 2011 has hurt the economy, critics say he has presided over Egypt’s worst ever crackdown on dissent and have dubbed the vote a charade.

General El-Sisi (63), who led the military coup d’état of Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Mursi in 2013, has cast his bid for a second term as a vote for stability and security.

However a low turnout could suggest El-Sisi enters legitimacy crisis, undermining value of his mandate, needed to revive the economy,  struggling after the 2011 revolution to attract  tourists and foreign investors, abandoning the country after turmoil.

Sarkozy in custody over Libyan funding

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is held in police custody for questioning by magistrates over the allegations of funding from Libyan sources for his 2007 election campaign, an official in the French judiciary said.

A former minister Brice Hortefeux, was also being questioned by police on in relation to the Libya investigation, another source close to the probe said.

Information about Sarkozy campaign funding from Libya have been circulating for a decade, however is it just this morning Sarkozy was questioned on the issue.

A French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine has publicly repeated claims that the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi gave €50m to fund Nicolas Sarkozy’s successful 2007 campaign for the French presidency.

In a film published on the news website Mediapart, Ziad Takieddine, who introduced Sarkozy to Gaddafi, insists he handed over cases stuffed with cash to the former French leader and his chief of staff, Claude Guéant.

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