Category Archives: Politics

EU diplomats discuss Libya with Salamé

The extraordinary session of the Foreign Affairs Council, chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, takes place in Brussels today. It will start with a discussion on current affairs.

Under this item, the Council will consider the evolving situation in Libya. In the margins of the meeting, ministers will be informally briefed on the same subject by the UN Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Mr Ghassan Salamé.

Borrell hosts Libya meeting

The European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell and the foreign ministers of Italy, France, Germany and the UK will gather on January 7 in the afternoon in Brussels to discuss escalation of hositilites Libya, the spokesman confirmed.

The EU reteintes the calls for cessation of violence, and confrontation between different groups in Libya.

“On Tuesday 7 January, the High Representative/Vice-President, Josep Borrell, will meet in Brussels with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Mr Heiko Maas, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Mr Luigi Di Maio and the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, Mr Dominic Raab, to discuss the situation in Libya. 

“The High Representative/Vice-President will address the press at approximately 15:30 (Brussels time) in the European External Action Service building” the EEAS communication service confirmed.

AMENDED: Josep Borrell statement after the meeting:

“Confronted with the worrying recent military escalation in Libya and also in view of the Foreign Affairs Council scheduled for Friday 10th January, we met in Brussels today to reaffirm our commitment to immediately halt the fighting around Tripoli and elsewhere and to discuss how the EU can further contribute to the UN mediation and to a swift return to political negotiations.

“The EU is of the firm conviction that there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis and that a protracted conflict will only bring more misery to ordinary people, exacerbate divisions, increase the risk of partition, spread instability across the region and aggravate the threat of terrorism. An immediate cessation of hostilities is therefore crucial.

All the members of the international community need to strictly respect and enforce the UN arms embargo. Continuing outside interference is fuelling the crisis. The more the Libyan warrying parties rely on foreign military assistance, the more they give external actors undue influence on sovereign Libyan decisions, to the detriment of the country’s national interests and of regional stability.

In particular, we stressed the necessity to avoid unilateral actions such as the signing of agreements which further exacerbate the conflict or actions which create a pretext for external interference that are contrary to the interests of the Libyan people, as well as to European interests, as underlined by the European Council conclusions of 12 December 2019.

On the contrary, the Berlin process and the UN mediation efforts put the needs of all Libyans to the forefront and suggest sustainable solutions to core issues such as unifying institutions, distributing the country’s wealth equitably, and outlining a realistic roadmap towards a political settlement.

We urge all Libyan parties to sincerely embrace these UN-led efforts and to return to negotiations. The EU will continue to support the UN mediation and will help implementing any decisions that may be taken in Berlin.

Libya rejects Turkey invasion

LIBYA CORRESPONDENT Tripoli, 6th January 2020 -The US Embassy in Libya has released a statement warning of the dangers of “toxic” foreign interference in Libya, such as the arrival of Syrian fighters supported by Turkey. The Embassy appealed to all Libyan parties to end this dangerous involvement of foreign forces, which is contributing to civilian casualties and damaging civilian infrastructure of all Libyans. From April 4th, 2019 the Libyan National Army (LNA), under the command of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, started military operations to free the Libyan capital Tripoli from criminal militias and terrorists supported by the Government of National Accord (GNA) represented by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj.

With two Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) on military cooperation and maritime area jurisdiction, signed in Ankara on 27 November 2019 by Serraj and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Libyan government authorized the Turkish invasion and sold the resources of Libyan people in exchange of logistical and military support from Ankara. According to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’ reports, Turkey has already sent over 1000 Syrian fighters and extremists against the LNA to Libya from Syria. After presenting itself as democratic for years, the Government of Fayez al-Serraj has publicly showed its affiliation to Muslim Brotherhood and close collaboration with extremist groups such as Daesh, al-Qaeda and the officially dissolved Ansar al-Sharia, which has used to carry out attacks across the country in an attempt to assert its own territorial legitimacy. In fact, it is known that the majority of the Tripoli-based government cabinet members belongs to the militant group of the Brotherhood. In past years Fayez al-Serraj has replaced all key figures and heads of state-owned companies’ boards with Brotherhood leaders, including the Post and Telecommunication Authority, the Libyan Investment Authority and the Libyan Central Bank (CBL).
Al-Serraj publicly allying with Turkey threatens the security of the region and in particular of the European Union. After the first weeks of military operations, the Libyan premier had threatened Europe to send 800,000 migrants currently detained to detention centres run by its armed militias. Since early June, following the failure to respond to the request for weapons from Europe, landings on the Italian, Greek and Maltese coasts from Libya have increased significantly. Interpol warned member States of the risk of jihadist infiltrations among migrants arriving from the Libyan west coast. Erdogan is blackmailing Europe’s security by transporting terrorists from Syria to Libya, which is close to European countries. In fact, it is not possible to determine what will be of these Syrian rebels in the short and long term. A real risk if we consider that those responsible for the major attacks on European soil were coming from or directly connected to Libya, including Salman Obeidi, author of the bomb attack in Manchester arena.
Libyans have the right to reject Turkish interference in their country’s internal affairs. Field Marshal Haftar launched an appeal to the Nation last Friday for all Libyans to arm themselves in response to sending Turkish troops to Libya in support of the Tripoli government. “We accept the challenge and declare jihad and a call to arms, men and women, soldiers and civilians, to defend our land and our dignity”. He said in a television speech. Local councils, cities and tribes took to the streets to say no to the Turkish invasion. The councils of the Werfalla, Tuareg, al-Hasnawnah and Gadadfa tribes said they were ready to fight to reject Erdogan’s Ottoman neo-colonialism. Even Aisha al-Gaddafi, daughter of former Libyan leader sent after years of silence a message to her people: “When Turkish shoes contaminate my country for which our martyrs have shed their blood, if there is nobody among you to repel this aggression, leave the scene to Libya’s thirst. I will be in the front row. Look at your people, there are no more excuses”.

Ankara seals military alliance with Tripoli

Turkey moved closer to military support for Tripoli internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) during the weekend when a bilateral deal that provides for a swift reaction force if requested by Fayez Al Sarraj administration was submitted to Turkish parliament.

Erdogan said that Turkey was ready to provide Tripoli any military support it needed after Ankara and Libya’s internationally recognised government signed the deal.

Ankara’s latest move raises tensions in the Mediterranean region and risks confrontation with Libya National Army forces led by Khalifa Haftar based in eastern Libya, where the Interim government supported by Parliament is has been based since 2014.

Late last month, Ankara and Tripoli signed an expanded security and military accord and, separately, a Memorandum on maritime boundaries that Greece and Cyprus said violates international law.

We will be protecting the rights of Libya and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said on A Haber TV. “We are more than ready to give whatever support necessary to Libya.”

While the maritime accord has been sent to the United Nations for endorsement, the military deal has been presented to Turkey’s Parliament.

“Parliament will enter it into force after approval,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

At present the date of vote in the Parliament dominated by Erdogan ruling AK Party has been not announced yet.

Greece expels Libya Ambassador

Libyan ambassador is expelled from Athens following the agreement between Libya and Turkey, signed on November 27, which maps out a sea boundary between the two countries, close to Crete island.

Mohamed Younis AB Menfi has 72 hours to leave the country, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told reporters on December 6. The Turkey-Libyan accord was a “blatant violation of international law,” Dendias said.

Ankara is backing Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tripoli.The agreement on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea between Turkey and the Chairman Fayez Al Sarraj administration could complicate disputes over energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, where Turkish drilling has caused indignation of Greek Cypriots, Athens, and the EU.

Guinea-Bissau: EU warns against illegal actions

“The illegal attempt to dismiss Prime-Minister Gomes and his Government threatens to derail the ongoing electoral process in Guinea-Bissau. The Government, whose programme was recently approved by a parliamentary majority, is the sole and legitimate executive power in Guinea-Bissau, supported by regional and international partners” reads the statement of  the spokesperson of the European External Action Service.

“In order to preserve stability and sustainable development, the electoral cycle should be pursued with the Presidential elections planned on November 24th 2019. The EU expects all stakeholders to avoid any actions that undermine this process.

“The EU endorses the October 29th ECOWAS Statement and stands firmly with its international partners in order to ensure free, fair and transparent elections on November 24th 2019.’

Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi

Russia delivered two nuclear-capable bombers to South Africa on a training mission on October 23, a flight apparently timed to coincide with President Vladimir Putin’s opening of a flagship Russia-Africa Summit conceived to ensure Russian influence.

The two Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers landed at Waterkloof air force base in Tshwane on October 23, the South African National Defence Force announced.The Ministry of Defence of Russian Federation has said the mission is designed to nurture military ties with South Africa.

Addressing African heads of state at a two-day summit in the southern Russian city of Sochi, President Putin supported trade with African countries, foreseen to double over the next four to five years. Meanwhile Moscow had written off  $20 billion of  African debts.

The first Russia-Africa summit is part of a Kremlin strategy to win business and restore influence that faded after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, which actively supported left-wing governments and movements across the continent during the period of the Cold War.

“Many Russian companies have long and successfully worked with partners from the most different sectors of the African economy and plan to expand their influence in Africa. We of course will provide support at the state level,” President Putin said.

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