Tag Archives: Libya

CHAD: FACT ready for ceasefire

Brussels 25.04.2021 The rebels, known as the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), intruded over the northern border from Libya on April 11 calling for an end to Deby’s 30-year rule. They came as close as 200-300 km (125-185 miles) from the capital N’Djamena before being pushed back by the army.
“FACT is ready to observe a ceasefire for a political settlement that respects the independence and sovereignty of Chad and does not endorse a coup d’etat,” FACT spokesman Kingabe Ogouzeimi de Tapol said.

Deby was killed on Monday, April 19, while visiting troops at the frontline, just after he won an election one more time. His death shocked the Central African country, which has long been a Western ally against Islamist militants. However the circumstances of his death remain unclear.

The air force has since bombarded rebel positions, the military and rebels said. The military said on Saturday it had “annihilated” the rebels.

After Deby’s death, a military council headed by his son, Mahamat Idriss Deby, seized power and said it would oversee an 18-month transition to elections. Opposition politicians called this a coup, and the rebels said they would not accept a “monarchy”.

CHAD: Deby death events ambiguous

Brussels 23.04.2021 The rumours and speculations around the events of late Chad President Idriss Deby multiples. Officially Idriss Déby Itno died as a warrior, leading his army. According to the Chadian military, which broke the news on state television, the newly re-elected president died of “injuries received at the front”, located 300 km north of the capital N’Djamena.

“The President of the Republic, Head of State, Supreme Head of the Armed Forces, Idriss Déby Itno, has just had his last breath in defending territorial integrity on the battlefield. It is with deep bitterness that we announce to the Chadian people the death on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 of Marshal of Chad “, announced the spokesman of the army General Azem Bermandoa Agouna.

On Saturday, April 17, intense fighting of the Chadian army against a column of rebels advancing towards the capital N’Djamena were reported. This Libyan-based rebel group, the Front Front for Change and Concord in Chad (abbreviation FACT in French language), had advanced south after attacking a border post.

According to army spokesman Azem Bermendao Agouna, Chadian government forces halted the rebel advance in a battle that took place the same day in Kanem province. Five government soldiers were killed and 36 others reported injured. On the rebel side, the losses would have been much heavier: N’Djamena speaks of more than 300 rebels killed and 150 prisoners, however the information war is suspected, while the facts are difficult to verify. However, videos show dozens of rebels captured by government troops, just as they also show drops of equipment and ammunition that could only have been carried out by France.

On Monday evening, April 19, a meeting between late President Déby and the FACT leaders would have taken place in Mao city, close to the border of the Sahara desert. There is a word that this meeting could have degenerated into a fight causing the death of Déby and four of his generals.

This sudden death caused the dissolution of the Assembly and the establishment of a military body (the Transitional Military Council, CMT) which ensures power. At its head is one of the Marshal’s sons: General Mahamat Déby Itno (37), who commands the Presidential Guard, the promotion that angers FACT rebels, insisting that Chad is not a monarchy.

Déby, 68, a career soldier who seized power in 1990 following a coup d’état, promoted to the rank of Marshal last August, had just been re-elected for a 6-year term with 79.32% of the votes cast, according to provisional results announced Monday, April 19, evening by the national electoral body.

The Chadian president was often considered as a stabilising element in a tormented region even if the turbulent Déby mistreated his world and especially his opponents. But it appeared to be the stabilising element of a tormented region, with states as failed as Libya, the Central African Republic or Sudan. And when the fire burned in the Sahel and in Central Africa, he answered present, unleashing his warriors who can be found today in Mali in the ranks of the UN and those of the Joint Force of the G5 Sahel.

SAHEL: Deby death events arcane

Brussels 20.04.2021 President Idriss Deby has died of wounds suffered on the front line in the country’s north, while visiting soldiers battling insurgents, the Chad armed forces said.
The exact circumstances of Deby’s death remain arcane. As a Commander-in-chief Deby had been leading his army during the weekend as it battled rebels who had launched a major incursion into the north of the country on election day on April 11.

Recognised as a brilliant military strategist who has been able to survive numerous coup d’état attempts and rebellions, Deby never hesitated to lead soldiers on the battlefront. Last year, he took the title of Field Marshal of Chad.

On Monday, April 19, the army had claimed a “great victory” in its battle against the rebels intruding from neighbouring Libya, claiming it had killed 300 fighters, with the loss of five soldiers in its own ranks during eight days of combat.

The rebel raid in the provinces of Tibesti and Kanem was carried out by the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), based in Libya. The group has a neutrality pact with Marshal Khalifa Haftar controlling Libya’s oil-rich East.

FACT, a group mainly made up of the Saharan Dazaga (sometimes referred to as Gourane, an Arabian exonym Goran people), said in a statement Sunday, April 18, that it had “liberated” the Kanem region. The events in the remote desert combat zones are hard to verify.

A military council led by the late president’s 37-year-old son, four-star General Mahamat Idriss Deby, would take a lead for the next 18 month transition period. A curfew has been imposed in the capital N’Djamena and the country’s borders have been shut in the wake of the President’s sudden death.

Deby, 68, “has just breathed his last defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield” over the weekend, army spokesman General Azem Bermandoa Agouna said in a statement read out on state television on Tuesday, April 20, a day after Deby was declared the winner of a presidential election.

Deby was a herder’s son from the Zaghawa Sahelian Muslim ethnic group who took the classic path to power through the army ranks, and relished the military culture.

Diplomats leave N’Djamena

Brussels 20.04.2021 The U.S. State Dept has ordered all government employees at the US Embassy in Chad to leave as rebel fighters approach the capital, N’Djamena. The UK has also urged its citizens to leave the country. France has been assisting Chad put down the rebel Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT).

FACT spokesman Kingabe Ogouzeimi de Tapol claimed that rebels had “liberated” Kanem region and were still trying push away the remaining state security forces.

“We reassure the population of the city of N’Djamena and its surrounding area, in particular diplomatic personnel, United Nations staff, partners, and expatriates working in Chad, to remain calm and to avoid any non-essential travel outside the city,” Ogouzeimi said in a statement posted to Facebook.

A group of 14 opposition leaders, who had called for their supporters to boycott the election, signed a petition on Sunday calling for a ceasefire to allow for an “inclusive national dialogue.”

Chadian president Deby has been killed, according to state television. What started off a week ago as a small incursion from Libya by Chadian rebels and tribe members has ended in a political crisis.

Libya: New head of EU border mission

Natalina Cea was appointed Head of Mission of the EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) in Libya. She will take up her duties on 1 February 2021 succeeding Vincenzo Tagliaferri, who has been Head of Mission since 1 September 2016.

Natalina Cea is an Italian civil servant who has worked at a senior level for more than 20 years, both in Italy – as Director of the International Cooperation and Technical Assistance Office of the Italian Customs Administration – and internationally, leading missions, programs and projects in the civilian security sector, particularly in the field of border management and related security and justice issues.

EUBAM Libya, a civilian Mission under the Common Security and Defence Policy, was launched on 22 May 2013. It is tasked with contributing to the Libyan authorities’ efforts to disrupt organised criminal networks involved in smuggling of migrants, human trafficking and terrorism. The mission coordinates and implements projects with international partners in the fields of border management, law enforcement and criminal justice.

Today’s decision was taken by the Political and Security Committee.

UN Libya envoy expresses optimism

The United Nations’ acting envoy to Libya said she was “quite optimistic” that ongoing talks between the warring sides would lead to a lasting ceasefire, after they agreed to reopen land and air routes across front lines.

Speaking midway through marathon talks, Stephanie Williams said the sides had also agreed to maintain “the current state of calm on the front lines and avoid any military escalation”.

“After two days of the first face-to-face direct talks between the two Libyan delegations to the 5+5 Joint Military Commission, which have been marked by a great degree of patriotism and professionalism and insistence on maintaining Libya’s unity and defending the country’s sovereignty, I am pleased to report that the two sides have reached agreement on several important issues which directly impact the lives and welfare of the Libyan people, namely” the statement reads.

“That is why I continue to be very optimistic that the parties here are going to reach a more lasting and permanent ceasefire,” she told a news conference at the U.N. in Geneva.

The first flights between Tripoli Airport and the main eastern city Benghazi would resume this week, and the sides had agreed to make progress on an exchange of detainees, Williams has underlined.

This year, the conflict has aggravated due to support of foreign powers. The Tripoli Government of National Accord administration (GNA), with backing from Turkey, halted a 14-month assault by Haftar’s Libyan National Army to take control over the capital with the backing of Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Foreign countries involved in the conflict “need to take their hands off of Libya”, Williams warned. Both parties have previously agreed that after a lasting ceasefire agreement is reached, all foreign forces and mercenaries must withdraw within three months, under U.N. supervision, the envoy has underlined.

Libyan oil output resumed in August after an eight-month blockade by the LNA, but the state producer, the National Oil Corporation (NOC), has underlined that the risks are imposed by a force that guards oil sites. Williams said the sides had agreed to delegate commanders from both east and west to work with the NOC on a proposal to restructure the guards to ensure oil flow.

An announcement by GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj that he intends to step down by the end of this month “should help end the long period of transition” and move towards a democratically elected government, she said.

This week’s meeting between GNA-Tripoli and LNA-Benghazi military negotiators in Geneva will be followed by a political dialogue in Tunis from November 9, Williams informed.

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. At present the East Libyan authoritity – the Tobruk parliament backed by the Libyan National Army, led by Marshall Khaftar – does not recognise the status of Tripoli administration of Al-Sarraj. They repeatedly underlined in various statesments that the Shkirat Agreement (December 17,2015, Morocco), which has given a mandate for one year to the reconciliation goverment in Tripoli, has been expired a long time ago. They reiterated, that the result of this failure to realised the mandate within one year led to the «unconstitutional» status of the Tripoli government, while the status of the Tobruk parliament has been recognised the UN Security Council as the Libya sole legislator.

Libya: speaker Aguila Saleh rise

Brussels 03.10.2020 Libya’s oil output has risen to 270,000 bpd as the OPEC member ramps up export activity following the easing of a blockade by eastern part of the country.
On October 1 Libya’s oil terminals at Hariga, Brega, and Zueitina were open for business and welcoming tankers to ship oil, although the biggest port and the terminal typically exporting crude from the largest oilfield in the country was still under strain.

The North African nation’s National Oil Corp said it expects production to rise to around 260,000 barrels per day, or bpd, by next week, up from some 100,000 bpd before the blockade of its oil ports and oilfields lifted by Haftar’s forces at the end of last week.

Total Libyan production could reach 550,000 bpd by the end of the year and nearly a million bpd by mid-2021. All that for a country that did not export a single barrel from January due to the civil war forced by Haftar. At its peak in 2008, Libya produced nearly 1.8 million bpd.

The shifting market dynamics could force OPEC back to the drawing board, to figure out what to do with all that unexpected new supply.

Emboldened by the steady price action of the past four months, OPEC decided to roll back its cuts by two million bpd from this month, taking a gamble that the market won’t crash, as economies continue to recover from the worst of the COVID-19 disruption. AbS’ warning to oil giants that they’ll be “ouching like hell” if they try to short the market was part of a calculated campaign to defend prices.

In the complex international economic context, and Libya ongoing political crisis, the Tobruk House of Representative (HoR) Speaker, Aguila Saleh, is expected to play a major role in state-building during the coming period, amid hopes of a political settlement to the long-time crisis in the country. Moreover might play a key role in concluding new trade agreements for oil exports, preventing overproduction, and subsequent turmoil for the oil markets.

Saleh has cemented his reputation as a political heavy-weight demonstrating openness to resolve the ongoing crisis in Libya. For the international community his rise will embody the transfer of political powers in Cyrenaica from military – Marshall Khalifa Haftar leading the Libyan National Army – to civilians. The increasing influence of the role of Saleh has reflected in the decision of the European Union Council to lift the individual sanction, allowing him to travel freely.

“The Council today decided to remove Aguila Saleh, speaker of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives, and Nuri Abu Sahmain, former president of the internationally unrecognised General National Congress of Libya, from the list of individuals and entities subject to restrictive measures in relation to the Libyan conflict.

“The two leading political figures had been subject to EU restrictive measures – a travel ban and an asset freeze – since 2016. The delisting of Speaker Saleh was agreed in light of his recent constructive engagement in support of a negotiated political solution to the Libyan crisis. The Council will continue to follow his behaviour closely, notably in relation to his support for the Berlin Process and for the efforts of the UN mission to Libya (UNSMIL). The delisting of Abu Sahmain was agreed based on the overall absence of any recent role in the Libyan political process.

“The EU welcomed the announcements made on 21 August by the president of the Presidency Council, Fayez al-Sarraj, and the speaker of the House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh, which accelerated promising developments in Libya and created a window of opportunity to move the Libyan transition forward towards completion through a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process.

“Today’s decision underlines the strategic use of the EU’s sanctions regime, following developments on the ground. Restrictive measures are intended to bring about a change in policy or activity by entities and individuals responsible for malign behaviour, and are of a proportionate, targeted and non-punitive nature. De-listing is appropriate wherever the criteria for listing are no longer met, as was the case here.

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

Libya: EU imposes individual sanctions

Brussels 21.09.2020 The Council today decided to impose targeted restrictive measures on two persons responsible for human rights abuses in Libya and three entities involved in violating the UN arms embargo in place for Libya. They will be added to the EU’s list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures related to the Libyan conflict. The sanctions imposed comprise a travel ban and an asset freeze for natural persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed. With these new designations, the EU now has travel bans on 17 listed persons and has frozen the assets of 21 persons and 19 entities.

The EU imposes restrictive measures on persons and entities whose actions threaten the peace and security of Libya or obstruct the successful completion of its political transition. The EU has repeatedly called on all parties to respect human rights and international law and is committed to holding anyone violating them accountable. The EU is also determined to see the UN arms embargo in Libya fully respected. These new listings show the EU’s strategic use of its sanctions regime and ability to react to developments on the ground in support of the political process and to deter past and present perpetrators from further violations.

The EU’s sanctions complement and reinforce the sanctions adopted by the UN, which include an arms embargo and individual measures, including for human rights abuses. The UN has imposed a travel ban on 28 persons and an asset freeze on 23 persons.

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

Tripoli: Al-Sarraj intends to resign

Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan said he was upset that his ally and Libya’s internationally recognised partner Fayez al-Sarraj, intends to quit next month and Ankara may hold talks with his government on the issue in the coming week.

Al-Sarraj announced on September 16 his intention to resign by the end of October. The decision will impact the situation in Tripoli amid new efforts of different international players to find a political solution to the country’s conflict.

“A development like this, hearing such news, has been upsetting for us,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul, adding that Turkish delegations may hold talks with Al-Sarraj’s government in the coming week.

“With these meetings, Allah willing we will turn this issue towards the direction it needs to go,” he said.
Sarraj is head of the Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli, while eastern Libya and much of the south is controlled by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). His departure could lead to infighting among senior GNA figures.

The civil war has drawn in regional and international powers and Turkey supports the Government of National Accord, while the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia back the Marshall Khalifa Haftar, supported Tobruk Parliament and Libyan National Army (LNA). Ankara assisted the GNA in defence its position in the captial during a 14-month LNA assault on Tripoli.

A Turkish official told Reuters news agency that Sarraj’s resignation announcement was the second recent surprise for Ankara in Libya after a ceasefire announcement last month.

Al-Sarraj’s administration declared a ceasefire on August 21 and the leader of the Tobruk Parliament in eastern Libya also appealed for a halt to hostilities separately, offering hope for a de-escalation of the conflict, lasting almost a decade.

“We would prefer for Sarraj to remain in his post because under his leadership a united Libya that has resolved its issues could emerge,” the official said.

“If Sarraj does not remain in office, there are some names who are involved in the processes and can take the GNA forward. These are, of course, Libya’s own issues, but Turkey may provide some support,” he added.

The European dream to transform Libya into a democratic state turned into a catastrophe: the state structures had collapsed, and Libyans became hostages of militant groups of rival warlords, mafia slave-traders, and Islamists, armed for free by pillaging giant arms stocks left unattended after Colonel Gaddafi regime collapse. In shot, referring to expression of one of the French secret service experts, Libya became an “Afghanistan in proximity”.

The Government of National Accord (GNA) is an interim government for Libya that was formed under the terms of the Libyan Political Agreement, a United Nations–led initiative, signed on 17 December 2015 in Shkirat, Morocco.
This agreement has been unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Security Council which has recognised that the Government of National Accord (GNA) is the sole legitimate government of Libya. Shkirat agreement mandates executive authority to the GNA, while leaving legislative authority to the House of Representatives as it was following the June 2014 elections. It also establishes the High Council of State, a consultative body independent of the GNA. The fact about the length of mandate for one year only, has been intentionally omitted by all political players, supporting GNA administration for various reasons. Shkirat agreement has been never prolonged ever since, throwing legal status of al-Sarraj administration into void.

Borrell concludes visit to Egypt

“…This is a good opportunity to bolster this partnership, because we want to strengthen our relations. And we want to do so because we share many interests. We want to consult with you on many pressing regional issues, in the areas of energy, environment, migration, trade and security. We also want to work together in areas that are important for the well-being of the Egyptian people – water management, socio-economic development, education, and health’ said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, while concluding his visit to Egypt.

“In this regard, we spoke about the emergency package of support we prepared to face the consequences of COVID-19, which is hitting you, us and everybody much stronger than expected. We also discussed how to best handle difficult issues, like human rights. Among friends, we should and we can talk about everything.

Maybe the most important aspects of this visit are the regional issues, because our neighbourhood – the Mediterranean – is in trouble.

“We raised the situation in Libya – which I visited earlier this week, and where Egypt is playing a decisive role and I want to thank you for this role in pushing for and keeping the ceasefire in Libya.

“On the Middle East Peace Process – and above all the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which has prevented the annexation in the Jordan Valley this summer.

“I think that we have to continue working on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, where the current developments are very worrying, and on the need for de-escalation and dialogue.

“And finally, although it is a little bit far away from the European Union countries and much closer to Egypt, we are very much concerned and we shared comments and considerations about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, where we welcome Egypt’s continued engagement in the negotiations with Ethiopia and Sudan, and we hope that you will continue having this important role in order to use this vital resource for Egypt in an organised way”.

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