Tag Archives: Libya

MEPs discuss slave trade in Libya

The mistreatment of migrants and refugees in Libya, and arrangements for their resettlement or return, are debated with UNHCR in the European Parliament on Monday, 5/03/2018.

The ways to end the mistreatment of migrants and refugees stranded in Libya, the point of departure of up to 90% of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, will be discussed by Civil Liberties Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs, members of the Delegation for relations with Maghreb countries and UNHCR, Commission and External Action Service representatives.

Following several media reports that migrants have fallen victim to the slave trade in Libya, the EU and the African Union, together with the UN, agreed in November 2017 to set up a joint Task Force to save and protect lives along the African migration routes and in particular inside Libya, accelerating assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin, and the resettlement of those in need of international protection.

Fighting smuggling and easing returns to countries of origin are EU priorities.

EU diplomats focus on Libya

The Council of Foreign Affairs ministers will review the situation in Libya, following the meeting of the joint migration task force with the African Union and the UN on 14 December 2017.

The discussion will feed into the preparations of the 4th Quartet meeting at the end of January. The Quartet supports the UN-facilitated political process in Libya. It brings together the EU, the UN, the African Union, and the League of Arab States.


Libya pipeline blast

Armed men exploded a pipeline pumping crude oil to Es Sider port, cutting Libya’s output by up to 100,000 barrels per day (bpd), military and industry sources claimed.

The state-run National Oil Corporation (NOC) said in statement output had been reduced by 70,000-100,000 bpd. The cause of the blast was unclear, it added.

The attackers arrived at the site near Marada in two cars and planted explosives on the pipeline, a military source said.

Pictures purportedly showing a huge cloud from the blast in central eastern Libya circulated on social media.

The damage was still being assessed, one oil source said. Oil prices rose on the report.

Islamic State fighters had a presence in the area until government forces expelled them from their main stronghold in Sirte a year ago.

The operator of the pipeline is Waha, a subsidiary of the NOC and a joint venture with Hess Corp, Marathon Oil Corp and ConocoPhillips.

Benghazi reconstruction conference in March

Authorities in eastern Libya have announced a conference in March to enforce support to rebuild the country’s second-largest city Benghazi heavily damaged during three years of fighting between Marshal Khalifa Haftar troops and Islamists.

The announcement signals a desire to demonstrate a return to normality in the port, where top military commander Khalifa Haftar declared the end of a campaign to oust Islamist fighters in July.

Clashes have sporadically continued in some isolated areas, while life has returned in the rest of the city, though some districts were almost completely destroyed by shelling and air strikes.

A forum titled “International Conference and Exhibition for rebuilding Benghazi city” will be held from March 19-21, the organizers said in an invitation posted online, adding that a six-day exhibition would be held the same month.

Vicegrad4 pledges millions for African migrants in Italy

The Vicegrad4 group of countries – Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – have vowed to contribute amount of 35 million euro to support Italy in projects aiming at stopping illegal migration from Libya. The pledge was announced  ahead of an EU summit in Brussels focusing on issues including illegal mass migration in first ranks.

“We want to demonstrate that solidarity is something that we fully respect,” Fico told journalists after a meeting of Visegrad Group leaders with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Gentiloni thanked the Visegrad Group  for the financial pledge, but said mandatory migrant quotas were a “minimum requirement” by the EU.

After arriving in Brussels for the summit, Poland’s new Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said earlier that Poland’s stance on refugees was becoming better understood:/ “We will be presenting our approach to relocation policy, to policy on refugees… I am very happy that this approach is becoming increasingly understood in Brussels,” Morawiecki said to presse.

In spite of the mounting pressure from Brussels no relocation of migrants from Italy to any of Vicegrad group countries was offered. The major focus of V4 group to end illegal migration to Europe remains unchanged.

Eastern Libya to launch its coins

Authorities in eastern Libya will circulate their own coins to ease shortages of money, a central bank official said. Another sign of dichotomy in the country that has two rival governments in east and west:  following ancient Cyrenaica and Tripolitania division.

Reportedly the new coins, made in Russia, will join Russian-made paper currency that has already been issued in the eastern half of the country, which is outside the control of the United Nations backing government based in Tripoli in the west.

Libya, once upon a time one of the richest countries in Africa, has faced a sharp decline in living standards since a 2011 NATO supported revolt, ending in assassination of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

The two rival governments and an array of armed groups are competing for control.

While the UN-backed government in Tripoli has struggled to control territory and make an impact, the east of the country has a separate cabinet with a prime minister, Tobruk parliament,  and a local branch of the central bank.

The new coins worth one Libyan dinar – about 75 US cents at the official rate but less than 12 cents on the black market – would be valid from November 2, replacing banknotes that are mostly worn out, said Ramzi al-Agha, head of the liquidity committee at the eastern central bank branch.

The coins are copper coloured, weigh slightly more than a two-euro coin or a new British pound and feature a picture of a plant native to eastern Libya’s Green Mountains, with the words “Central Bank of Libya”.


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