At least 180 refugees feared dead in migrant boat disaster

The Italian coastguard said the boat had not been found so there was no way to determine the number of passengers. The Siem Pilot arrived in the port of Trapani on Monday evening, also bringing to land another 34 migrants rescued from another stricken migrant boat in a previous operation. All of the people on board were believed to be migrants and refugees from Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, according to the officer. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) data, which is published on Tuesday. The inflow of refugees and migrants to Europe by sea has been relentless so far, despite the mid-winter weather and rough sea conditions.

January 18, 2017 19:24 UTC

Libya: Ticking Clock with Dwindling Options

However, if Mr. Trump is to rely on that kind of thinking, it is also imperative for him to recognize the opportunities that present themselves when a market is being disrupted. Currently, many are poised to support Khalifa Haftar in his bid for power in Libya. Therefore, Mr. Trump should look to the Libya that a Haftar in power would create. Put simply, the status quo offers no stability, and the longer that Mr. Trump waits, the more his options dwindle. This is exactly the Art of the Deal that both Libyans and Mr. Trump will want.

January 18, 2017 18:09 UTC

Official: Tripoli-Rome flights to be resumed; visa to be facilitated

The Italian embassy in Tripoli is due to start receiving visa applications from Libyan people next month, ambassador Giuseppe Perrone declared on Wednesday. During his meeting with president of High Council of State Abdul-Rahman Swaihli in Tripoli, ambassador Perrone also said that direct flights between Tripoli and Rome would be re-established in February. "An Italian 250MW mobile power plant will arrive in Tripoli soon to connect it with the power grid here," Perrone announced, a step that aims to tackle the ongoing power outage crisis in the country. Ambassador Perrone presented his credentials to the UN-proposed Presidency Council on January 10, to be the first western ambassador to assume office from Tripoli since 2014. Related News:Italy to reopen embassy in LibyaEast government: Reopening of Italian embassy in Tripoli is new occupationSalvation government calls Italy to withdraw forces from Libya

January 18, 2017 17:49 UTC

Afriqiyah Airways crew take a beating in Tripoli

A crew of the Afriqiyah Airways was beaten by a number of gunmen, who are suspected to be part of the National Mobile Force, on Tuesday as they were passing through a checkpoint for the armed group in Hay Al-ANdalus, Tripoli. An Afriqiya Airways pilot, Captain Abdelkarim Al-Namsi, confirmed that he had been assaulted violently on his way back home coming from Mitiga airport after he was aboard a flight from Tunisian to Tripoli. “I was stopped by the National Mobile Force at Hay Al-Andalus and I was beaten, sworn at, humiliated, and robbed without any reason but that I was coming from Mitiga airport.” The pilot wrote on his Facebook page. Some of the armed groups of the National Mobile Force blocked certain main roads in Hay Al-Andalus this week over the arrest of one of their senior leaders, Adel Sifao (AKA Al-Shita), by the Special Deterrent Force when it stormed into Gergaresh area last Saturday.

January 18, 2017 17:38 UTC

News Roundup - Wed, Jan 18, 2017

____________________________The Italian embassy in Tripoli is due to start receiving visa applications from Libyan people next month, ambassador Giuseppe Perrone declared on Wednesday. The burial was supervised by Tripoli Medical Center after getting the go-ahead from Tripoli’s Public Prosecution. He added that over 30.000 gas cylinders are given to the two stocks every day. ___________________________Afriqiyah Airways said it had started airfreight flights from Istanbul, Sharjah, and Misrata and the other way round. This phenomenon has thrived lately in Libya as the thieves smuggle the cables outside Libya.

January 18, 2017 15:31 UTC

Updated | Muscat refutes criticism on EU-Libya migrant deal: ‘There is no perfect solution’

“While we may have ideological and moral differences on the way we approach migration, my point goes beyond that. That’s all in the long-term, and in the long-term we’ll all be dead.“This is the last train we can catch to do something structured regarding the collective handling of the migration crisis. “Europe cannot be caught in this conundrum once again. Next spring, Europe will face a new heavy influx of migrants through the central Mediterranean. The only solution we were given was some more money,” he said.

January 18, 2017 08:50 UTC

Malta wants EU-Libyan patrols to stop boat migrants

Maltese government presents EU ministers with ‘non-paper’ to discuss placing EU guards outside Libyan territorial watersThe Maltese government has presented home affairs ministers of the EU with a “non-paper” – diplomatic-speak for a political memo – calling for joint patrols with the Libyan navy in a bid to stop the influx of migrants through the Central Mediterranean route.Malta has assumed the presidency of the European Union and is currently tasked with the delicate bid to push the reform of the Dublin Regulation, which forces EU member states to process any asylum claims presented at their borders. In its aide-memoire to European member states , Malta has proposed placing European coast guard patrols just outside the extensive Libyan coast, in joint patrols with Libyan counterparts, who will then take intercepted migrant boats back to Libyan shores.As a non-paper, the document does not assume any official status, but serves as a discussion point for EU ministers of the interior to consider. Controversially, member states will have to decided whether the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, borne out of the ashes of the Frontex agency, will be stopping the passage of migrant boats just off the Libyan territorial waters, to have them escorted back to coast by the Libyan navy.The Central Mediterranean Route has returned to the fore of Europe’s migratory flux, with 729 asylum seekers having arrived on the Sicilian coast within just the first two weeks of 2017.However, Maltese foreign minister George Vella has poured cold water on the possibility of striking a deal with Libya to stem the flow of migrants to Europe, which Prime Minister Joseph Muscat this week said was urgent.“It’s a question of if and when Libya becomes stable,” Vella said, adding that the situation in the troubled North African country is “very different” from that in Turkey, which last year signed a deal with the EU to hold back Syrian refugees.While pointing out that despite its problems, Turkey remains a safe country, Vella said: “I ask whether Libya is a safe country, and I’ll leave it at that.”Predicting record numbers of crossings across the Mediterranean this spring, Prime Minsiter Joseph Muscat said “we will have a crisis” as he kicked-off Malta’s six-month EU presidency.Calling for a deal modelled on the EU-Turkey agreement, Muscat said European leaders could choose between “trying to do something now, or meeting urgently in April, May... and try to do a deal then.”But Vella warned that striking a deal with Libya – the main passageway for asylum seekers – will not be easy, as the country is highly unstable.“Reaching an agreement with Libya is no easy task,” Vella said of the oil-rich country with three rival governments and countless militias all vying for territorial control.He also shed doubt on the ability of the UN-recognised government led by Fayez Serraj – which is deemed as weak and incompetent by many in Libya and abroad – saying that potential pitfalls must be avoided.Last week, Muscat said that the EU should draw up an arrangement with Libya, from where most migrants leave Africa for Europe. It would use European money and expand an agreement already in place between Italy and Libya.Muscat said “there is already a framework that has been negotiated. The Italian deal can serve as a basis.”But Vella said that Libya’s UN-backed government has not accepted proposals by Italy aimed at cutting migrant flows and the two sides are “far apart” on reaching an agreement.On stemming the flow of migration towards Europe, Vella said the situation was complex and “it doesn’t simply work by closing access as if we’re placing a traffic barrier.”Vella – who often says Libya is on the brink of becoming a failed state – also acknowledged the fact that doubts linger on whether Libya would uphold the rights of asylum seekers if these were to be sent back or kept in the North African country before applying for asylum.

January 18, 2017 07:31 UTC

Before The Gamble In The Gambia: Memo To Buhari

Before The Gamble In The Gambia: Memo To BuhariBefore The Gamble In The Gambia: Memo To Buhari, By Cornelius Segun OjoDo you know what astonished me most in the world? Hence, this public memo to President Buhari, urging him to ensure peace and not war reigns. Watching the video of his concession speech, President Jammeh appeared shocked, but nonetheless, he wore a brave face to accept his defeat and concede to his opponent. The pertinent question to ask is: why did President Jammeh reject the election results? The post Before The Gamble In The Gambia: Memo To Buhari appeared first on

January 17, 2017 21:55 UTC

First migrant boat disaster of 2017 leaves 180 dead

Around 180 people are presumed to have died in the first major migrant boat disaster of 2017 in the Mediterranean, officials said Tuesday after interviewing a handful of survivors. They said their two-tier, wooden boat had left Libya on Friday with more than 180 people packed on board, all of them originally from East Africa. After five hours at sea, the engine cut out and the boat started to take on water. Siem Pilot, provided by the Norwegian coastguard, arrived in Trapani on Monday evening with the four survivors, four recovered corpses and 34 people rescued from another stricken migrant boat. Some 181,000 people were registered at Italian ports in 2016 while the UNHCR recorded more than 5,000 deaths and presumed deaths on all migrant routes across the Mediterranean.

January 17, 2017 19:42 UTC

In defiance to western powers, Russia courts eastern military man with arms deal

According to the report, Haftar discussed the arms deal with high profile Russian officials onboard the Russian aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, including the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu. “In the past seven months, he has also met the Russian foreign and defence ministers to seek support and weapons.” The Times reported on Monday. “Russia sees Libya as a strategic country that it could use to secure its grip on the Mediterranean, after having a base in Syria.” Abu Haliga was cited by the Times as saying. That is why we need one more state for the Russian presence not only in Syria but also generally in the Middle East. It is complete chaos and you can always say that Russia helps to fight terrorism."

January 17, 2017 17:52 UTC

UK Supreme Court allows Al-Watan Party Chairman, Belhaj, to sue MI6 for rendition

The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court has ruled to give the Chairman of the Libyan Al-Watan Party, Abdelhakim Belhaj, the right to sue the former Foreign Secretary of the UK, Jack Straw, the MI6 and the British government for claims that they helped in his rendition to Libya and later in his torture by the Libyan Gaddafi authorities. According to British media citing the Supreme Court, the UK’s highest court has ruled that ministers, involved in the case, especially Jack Straw, cannot claim “state immunity” or escape trial on the grounds of the legal doctrine of “foreign acts of state.”

January 17, 2017 16:23 UTC

News Roundup - Tue, Jan 17, 2017

It added that work is underway to provide fuel for the generators so that the situation gets contained. __________________Criminal Evidence Team of Al-Marij city sent 4020 Libyan citizenship files from the Green Mountain city’s Civil Registry to legal investigation. ___________________A humanitarian assistance convoy from Gharyan city arrived in Tarhouna city Tuesday to be distributed to Tawergha IDPs. According to the head of civil societies authority in Gharyan, Akram Taleb, the convoy included blankets, winter clothes, heaters, and babies’ diapers. Younis added that very corner of the prison is near collapsing and the toilets are not good for human use, adding that there are 300 inmates, men, women and underage prisoners.

January 17, 2017 15:21 UTC

Libya may go offline, warns telecom company

The General Authority for Telecommunications warned on Monday that the country's telecommunication network is at serious risk of breakdown due to the ongoing power outages. State-run Hatif Libya Company, the country's landline phone service provider, said telephone services might be interrupted at any moment due to the long hours of blackouts. "Our power generators cannot work continuously due to shortages in diesel supply," it warned. Libya is experiencing rolling blackouts that last for more than 12 hours a day. The power crisis forced many families to buy portable power generators to secure their power supply especially during the night time.

January 17, 2017 13:52 UTC

East Libya rejects humanitarian aid from Italy

Khalifa Haftar's self-styled military command is rejecting a planned humanitarian aid to east Libyan areas from the Italian government. Head of the media office of the command, Khalifa Al-Obaidi, told Afrigatennews, a 24-hour Dignity Operation mouthpiece website funded by the UAE, that the military command refuses any Italian aid unless Italy pulls its troops out of Libya. Al-Obaidi was reacting to the recent declaration of Italian minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Angelino Alfano, to send humanitarian aid to the areas under the control of Dignity Operation in eastern Libya. Last week, the eastern government of Abdullah Al-Thanni accused Italy of sending soldiers and ammunition to Libya's waters off the western shores. The interim government of Abdullah Al-Thanni is controlled by Khalifa Haftar's self-styled military command.

January 17, 2017 13:52 UTC

Number of suspected dead climbs from shipwreck off Libya

ROME — Aid groups have revised to at least 170 the number of suspected dead from a weekend migrant shipwreck off Libya. The International Organization of Migration and U.N. refugee agency increased the estimate from around 110 after interviewing the four survivors of the shipwreck who arrived in Trapani, Sicily, on Monday aboard the Norwegian rescue ship Siem Pilot. IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo said the survivors included three men and one woman from Ethiopia and Eritrea. They reported having set off from Libya aboard a wooden boat that started taking on water and sank after the engine broke. The survivors said about 170 people were missing, and that they were in the sea for hours before being rescued Saturday.

January 17, 2017 13:51 UTC

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