Tag Archives: Khalifa Haftar

Moscow hosts Libya talks

Negotiations between the parties to the conflict in Libya, held in Moscow, Russia. ended without signing a ceasefire agreement, told RIA Novosti adviser to the head of the Libyan parliament, Hamid al-Safi.

Negotiations between the heads of the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defense of Russia and Turkey with representatives of the conflict parties of Libya lasted more than six hours.

At the meeting, they discussed the possibility of signing an armistice agreement between the Libyan National Accord Government Fayez Sarraj and the head of the Libyan National Army, Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

Sassoli welcomes Libya truce

“I welcome the announcement of a ceasefire in Libya between Prime Minister Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj and General Khalifa Haftar. The halt to the armed conflict is the first fundamental step in the right direction” reads the statement of the presdient of the European Parliament David Sassoli (pictured).

“This is a result for which the European Union has worked hard for. I would like to thank High Representative Josep Borrell, European Council President Charles Michel, and national governments who showed unity in support of the initiative of the European Union. It is now necessary to consolidate this result and relaunch, after months of stalemate, the dialogue between the parties to find a political solution to the Libyan crisis. The European Union, under the auspices of the United Nations and within the framework of the Berlin Process, can and must play a leading role in facilitating this. Our goal is a stable Libya, democratic and free from external interference. It is not for anyone but the Libyan people themselves to decide on their future. The European Union is ready to do its part.”

In spite of the announced ceasefire in Libya, initiated by Turkey and Russia, Libyans witnessed a heavy fighting and air strikes on January 12, though both warring factions accused each other of violating the truce as military operations continued around the capital Tripoli.

Tripoli: Al-Sarraj accepts ceasefire

Tripoli-based administration of Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj has also declared ceasefire as part of an initiative proposed by Russia and Turkey, reads the statement posted on its Facebook page.

In response to a call of Turkish and Russian Presidents Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin, the head of the presidential council [who acts as the head of state, this body is led by al-Sarraj] and commander-in-chief of the Libyan Army declare ceasefire starting from January 12,” the statement said.

The communique outlines a number of steps that that GNA plans to take in order to implement ceasefire. In particular, it declares that military committees proposed by both sides should immediately start working on the measures guaranteeing ceasefire under the UN auspices.

Al-Sarraj’s administration has also confirmed that it supports the course towards political settlement through the Berlin conference for arranging a nationwide meeting attended by all parties to the Libyan conflict. It also recalled that it has a legal right to protect itself, responding to any possible attack or aggression of the other party.

On January 11, the Libyan National Army led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar also declared its agreement to stop combat actions. LNA Spokesman General Ahmed al-Mesmari announced a ceasefire from midnight on January 12 local time (01:00 Moscow time). He demanded that the opposite side back the ceasefire, vowing to give a harsh response in case of its refusal.

The Presidents of Russia and Turkey called on all parties in the conflict to declare ceasefire starting from January 12 after their meeting in Istanbul on January 8.

Haftar announces ceasefire

The army of Libyan Marshall Khalifa Haftar announced a ceasefire from midnight January 12 (2200 GMT) following calls from Moscow and Ankara for a truce.

They warned, however, in a short statement that the “response will be severe in the event of any violation of the truce by the opposing camp”, a reference to the UN-recognised government in Libya, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj.

Haftar’s forces have been battling to take the capital from the GNA since April.

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.

Libya crisis: Borrell hints on Turkey

The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell pointed at deterioration of security situation in Libya as the major obstacle of going for direct talks in Maghreb country.

“… Heiko Maas, Luigi Di Maio, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Dominic Raab, and myself, we have not travelled to Libya as expected due to the security situation there. We were strongly advised not to do this travel” Borrell said to Brussels press after the emergency meeting with the Foreign affairs ministers of Germany, France, Italy, and the UK.

The diplomat confirmed the priority status of Libya for the European Union foreign policy, and the determination to engage in talks with “all relevant actors” to stop the deterioration of the security situation, aggravated by hostilities. He confirmed the readiness for inclusive communication “across all the actors in Libyan process” with both Fayez al-Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar. He also underlined there is no military solution for the ongoing crisis.

“Any escalation and also any outside interference will only make the conflict more protracted, bring more misery to ordinary people in Libya, exacerbate divisions in the country, increase the risk of its partition, spread instability across the region and aggravate the threat of terrorism” Borrell said.

Restoring operational elements to the Sophia naval mission has never been abandoned, and will be considered with the purpose among others to ensure surveillance of arms embargo, Borrell continued, underlining that the European diplomats called for strict respect of the UN resolution (2173) to built further Berlin Process, led by Germany to find lasting solution for Libyan crisis.

“I have not said that very explicitly but it is clear, to someone who wants to understand, that when I am talking about these “increased external interferences” I am making a reference to the interference of Turkey Josep Borrell explained. However Ankara has been not mentioned explicitly in the issued by the four foreign ministers statement on Libya, neither the EU diplomat make a direct call to President Erdogan to end his recent ongoing military operation.

Projections of Tripoli destiny

“Naturally, the European Union does not have a plan to evacuate Tripoli. As you can imagine. We are not part of the conflict and I have no reference that such a thing will happen. Tripoli is a city of two million inhabitants and any fight on the streets of the city would be something really problematic and serious,” said top diplomat Josep Borrell during the press-conference, concluding the Council of the EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

The issue of possible evacuation of the Italian mission and the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) came to attention of the international press after a number of statements of different players, claiming Tripoli siege would end by the New Year, by entering of the Libyan National Army forces led by Marshall Khalifa Haftar. However the answer did not correlate to a question about the future of the Chairman Fayez Al Sarraj, if the EU is prepared to offer him an asylum.

“If you ask me if we have a plan to solve the Tripoli problem, of course not, because it is not our job, but we are in contact, all we can with our delegation there and that of the Member States to call the parties in conflict to the necessary restrain to avoid what could be a very serious situation such as the fighting in the center of a city of two million inhabitants.”

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In the introduction of Borrell underlined the significance of the efforts of German diplomacy to find a negociated solution for establishing lasting peace in Libya.

On Libya more specifically, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Heiko Maas has informed the Council about Germany’s plan for the Berlin process, which aims at finding a sustainable solution to the situation in Libya. I hope it will bear fruits and I believe we should be able to do more on Libya. We certainly [need] to do more because we cannot claim to be a geopolitical power if we cannot solve problems in our immediate neighbourhood“.

UN staff killed in explosion

“The U.N. does not intend to evacuate from Libya,” the assistant secretary-general for peace operations, Bintou Keita, told the UN Security Council, which condemned the recent attack in Benghazi, Libya.

A car bomb explosion in Benghazi killed three U.N. staff members and two other mission members on, the United Nations said.The attack came as the United Nations was negotiating a truce in the capital Tripoli, where the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) force launched an military operation in April.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack, a spokesman said in a statement. 

The United Nations gave no further details, indicating some of its casualties had been members working in Benghazi, the. LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari told press two of those killed were guards with the U.N. Libya mission, and 10 people had been wounded, including young children.

The explosion happened in front of a crowded shopping mall and bank. One burned-out U.N. car could be seen in the street.

Around the time of the blast, LNA commander Khalifa Haftar announced a halt to military operations for 48 hours during the Muslim Eid al-Adha celebrations, which started on July 10.

Before the weekend, the government in Tripoli confirmed that they had already accepted a U.N. proposal for a ceasefire during the holiday.

Libya: dozens killed in Murzuq airstrike

More than 30 individuals have been killed in an air strike on the southern Libyan oasis town of Murzuq in the historic region of Fezzan, populated mostly by Dawada people, but also by Tuareg. (Image above: illustration).

Eastern Libyan (historicaly region of Cirenaica) forces under the leadership  of Marshall Khalifa Haftar confirmed an assault on August 4, but denied any responsibility for the death of civilians.

Despite expected movement  for unity among the Tuareg and other southern Libyan minorities, at present the situation in Fezzan  stays fragile, and the future of the province remains obscure.

In reality Fezzan is unstable in absence of unity among Tuareg communities vis-à-vis the events in TripoliThe Tuareg are hugely disappointed with the results of the regime change, which did not fulfill any from the multiple promises made by the West.

Population of Fezzan is plagued by lack of basic healthcare, access to water, education and jobs – all resulting in low living standards, depression and crime. The infrastructures, including developed by state electric grids erected during Colonel Gaddafi rule, have dilapidated without maintenance, and are out of use, and there no opportunities to restore them until the conflict is ravaging Libya.
Many men left Fezzan to join different battling militant groups in search for earnings.

Both Fayez Al Sarraj in Tripoli, and Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi are struggling  for alliance with different tribes in Fezzan: Tuareg and Toubou (Teda and Dazagra). 

Like the supported by the West government of  Al-Sarraj, Haftar has equally alliances among Tuareg, multiplying promises.

For Europe significance of Fezzan has risen dramatically  after  Libyan state collapse, which left southern borders unattended, and opened a broad gate for illegal migration from from the Sahel to Mediterranean coast – the so called sub-Saharan migrant route.

AMENDED:

“Indiscriminate attacks on densely populated residential areas may amount to war crimes and must cease immediately. As High Representative / Vice-President Mogherini stated on behalf of the EU on 2 August, those committing war crimes and those breaching International Humanitarian Law must be brought to justice and held to account” the European External Action Service reacted on Murzuq attack on its official Twitter account.

EU reminds Libya humanitarian law obligation

An attack on a field hospital this weekend on the Airport Road cost the lives of four doctors and one paramedic and injured eight medical personnel. A school in Al-Alamain was also hit. Such civilian infrastructure is protected under international law. We remind all parties of their obligation to uphold international humanitarian law and we expect a thorough and independent investigation so that those responsible are held accountable” the European External Action Service spokesperson said.

The fighting in and around Tripoli has taken too many lives. The interest of the Libyan people must be put first by de-escalating the situation and resuming dialogue in order to identify a lasting political solution to the conflict as part of the UN-led process” the statement continues.

The field hospital located on the airport road was hit by an air raid,” said Tripoli health ministry spokesperson Lamine al-Hashemi.

“Five doctors were killed and seven other people, including rescuers wounded” in the attack that al-Hashemi accused of warplane of Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar.

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