Tag Archives: Tripoli

Borrell calls Libyans to stop hostilities

“Escalation of violence in Tripoli, including Tuesday´s attacks in the port, is causing further human suffering and civilian casualties. This needs to stop as a matter of urgency. All parties need to fully respect the truce they agreed to, refrain from any further military action, and re-engage in a political dialogue for a solution to the crisis in Libyareads the statement of the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, addressing deteriorating situation in Libya.

“We need to keep the momentum created by the Berlin process and the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 2510 (2020). Talks in Geneva under UN leadership should resume as quickly as possible, so that the parties move towards swift de-escalation and commit to a sustainable ceasefire.

“The European Union has been and remains strongly committed to support the UN-led peace process in Libya and the efforts by the UN Special Representative Ghassan Salamé to implement the Berlin declaration, as the only way out of the Libyan crisis.”

Meanwhile the Greek delegation walked out of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels on Feburary 19 in protest at the stance of acting president Attila Mesterhazy.

The incident took place as the five-member Greek delegation, which is made up of lawmakers from the country’s main political parties, were raising the issue of the contentious Turkey-Libya maritime boundaries agreement and Turkey’s violations of international law and Greek sovereign rights.

Libya talks launched in Geneva

The U.N. envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame said there was a “genuine will to start negotiating” between rival military factions as they planned to meet for the first time for talks in Geneva aimed at establishing a lasting ceasefire.(Image: archive)

The Geneva talks bring together five senior military officers from Libyan National Army led by Marshall Haftar and five from militia aligned with Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, chaired by Fayez al-Sarraj.

“We started yesterday (3/02/2020) to discuss with them a long list of points on our agenda, starting on an attempt to transform the truce into a more solid one, less often violated by either side and also to transform that truce into a real agreement on a lasting ceasefire,” Salame said.

Both rivals relay on foreign support in their bid for power. While Marshall Haftar is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, and Russia, the experts and diplomats claim, the GNA is openly supported militarily by Ankara, declaring it would enter the combat if attempts to overtake Tripoli persist.

Hundreds of militants from the Idlib de-escalation zone in Syria are moving to Libya to participate in hostilities, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
The second aspect, associated with the risks and threats arising from the Idlib de-escalation zone, is the movement of hundreds of militants, including the Nusrovites and Heyat Tahrir al-Sham fighters, to Libya to participate in building up hostilities in this country,” – Lavrov said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Haftar makes friends in EU

Libyan military leader Khalifa Haftar will hold talks in Athens on January 17, days ahead of a peace conference in Berlin which he and the head of Tripoli’s UN-recognised government Fayez al-Sarraj are expected to attend, France 24 TV channel reports.

“I hope that the parties will take this opportunity to put the future of Libya back in Libyan hands,” Maas said.

“When I visited in Libyen General Haftar made it clear: he wants to contribute to the success of the Libya conference in Berlin and is generally willing to participate. He has agreed to comply with the existing armistice” German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas wrote on his Twitter microblog page.

However Greece announced it will block any European Union peace agreement for Libya, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said unless a maritime deal between Turkey and Libya is cancelled.

“Greece at the level of a summit meeting will never accept any political solution on Libya that does not include as a precondition the annulment of this agreement,” Mitsotakis told Greek television on January 16.

“To put it simply, we will use our veto.”

Greece says the deal setting border and energy exploration areas in the Mediterranean between Libya and Turkey is “unacceptable and illegal” because Greek rights in the Mediterranean are ignored.

Mitsotakis is also disappointed Greece has been excluded from a peace summit on Libya to be held on January 19 in Berlin. He added it is wrong not to invite Greece and plans to fail a complain about it to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Marshall Khalifa Haftar, the leading the Libyan National Army (LNA), arrived in Athens on January 16 to hold talks with Greek officials ahead of a conference in Berlin on the Libyan crisis, Milli Gazete said.

Haftar has met Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias on January 17, the media reports said.

Germany has invited the United States, Russia, Turkey, France, Egypt, Britain, and others to the Libya summit. Both British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will attend.

Libya: Berlin conference impasse

Khalifa Haftar, Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), and head of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj have been invited to attend the Berlin conference on Libya set to take place on January 19, German Government spokesperson announced.
“Both have been invited,” she said. “I cannot say anything for sure regarding their participation.”
The conference is “the beginning of the negotiating process under the auspices of the UN,” the spokesperson continued. She noted that it is important to create conditions for Libya to be able to take part in the regulation process on its territory.

The international conference on Libya will take place on January 19 in Berlin. The German government’s press service informed on Tuesday that Russia, the US, China, the UK, Italy, France, Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, the Republic of the Congo, along with representatives of the UN, the EU, the African Union and the Arab League are set to take part in the conference.
During a meeting with Chancellor Merkel on January 11, President Putin said that in order to make the conference meaningful, the participants must be genuinely interested in support of Libyan conflict resolution.

Describing the situation in Libya and perpectives of Berlin process, while addressing the European Parliament the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said: “We need to engage strongly, keep Libya united and find a peaceful solution to this conflict”

At present there is growing scepticim among experts and commentators about the potential of Berlin conference. The failre to sing an agreement between Haftar and al-Sarraj in Moscow is seen as a bad omen.

Image above: Berlin

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.

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