Palestinian ex-premier ‘next UN envoy to Libya’

Ramallah, Feb 10 (IANS/AKI) United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres may appoint former Palestinian Authority president Salam Fayyad as his special envoy to Libya, according to Adnkronos International (AKI). In the letter sent to current UN Security Council president Volodymyr Yelchenko, Guterres asked him to inform the top UN decision-making body of his intention to appoint Fayyad as his special envoy to Libya. The current UN special envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, declined to comment saying it was an “internal matter” . Kobler, a German, was appointed to the role in November 2015. Fayyad was Palestinian Authority prime minister from June 2007 to June 2013.

February 10, 2017 02:25 UTC

Europe courts Libyan strongman as Russia closes in

We are going to shake their hands. We will align with them,” Haftar said in an interview on Sunday.Last week, Italy signed a €200 million memorandum of understanding with the GNA before EU leaders signed an agreement which seeks to stop asylum seekers reaching Europe by stopping them at sea and sending them back to detention centres in Libya.The EU’s urgency to strike deals with Libya and use its soft power could be fuelled by fears of Russian attempts to set foot in Libya by arming Haftar.The general made several trips to Moscow last year and last month he visited a Russian aircraft carrier off the coast of Tobruk from where he held a video conference with Russian defence minister Sergey Shoigu. In the wake of the visit, Italian State TV reported that Haftar signed an agreement which would see Moscow building two military bases near Tobruk and Benghazi.Russian state media did not mention the agreement, but confirmed that Russia would get a foothold in the south of the Mediterranean. The move would also step up the foreign presence in the Eastern part of Libya, where Emirati and French air forces have been reportedly operating since March from the Al-Khadim Airport in the city of Marj, Haftar’s headquarters.Speaking to MaltaToday last month, foreign minister George Vella expressed his hope that Russia abides by the UN embargo on the sale of weapons to Libya but Russian news reports said Haftar may have submitted a “wish list” of weapons if the arms embargo applying to all parties in Libya except the GNA government was lifted.Rival factions wrestling for territorial control in the oil-rich country are plunging the country into further chaos, as the Tripoli-based GNA led by Fayez Al-Serraj struggles to bring stability to its people.Haftar refuses to acknowledge the political authority of the GNA and has engaged in a power struggle with Tripoli that has strongly weakened prospects for a unification of the country. The future of the GNA hangs in the balance and the success of the UN-brokered deal depends on Haftar’s next moves and the extent of Russia’s involvement in Libya.A Russian foreign ministry spokesperson this week said that the GNA has been in power for a year “but the situation has not changed for the better.”The spokesperson said that the priority goals of the transitional period, stipulated by the UN-deal, “have not been reached: the work on the draft constitution has not been completed, and general elections, following which permanent bodies of state authority should have been formed, have not been held.”While pointing out that Libyans “should decide the fate of their country,” and criticising the imposition of the GNA, Russia looks at Haftar as a political heavyweight “who exercises a dominant influence on the alignment of political forces in modern-day Libya.”The Russian foreign ministry spokesperson said that Haftar’s forces have played a significant role in defeating Islamists and “terrorists” which has led to the resumption of oil exports.“We believe that the Libyan National Army could be the backbone of the united Libyan armed forces,” the spokesperson said.

February 09, 2017 09:00 UTC

UN Libya envoy urges Libya to make political breakthrough

Still seeking to implement a political accord signed more than a year ago, Libyans must make 2017 “the year of decisions” and political breakthrough, the United Nations envoy for the North African country urged today. 2017 must be a year of decisions and political breakthrough,” Martin Kobler, the secretary-general special representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), told the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday. He noted that 2016 was spent seeking to implement the agreement and begin the reestablishment of state authority across the country. The ongoing formation of the Presidential Guard is a step in the right direction but is a transitional measure until a unified Libyan army is formed. I am hopeful that with bold decisions and actions we will witness a political breakthrough that can place Libya on the path of peace, prosperity and stability,” he concluded.

February 09, 2017 07:52 UTC

Italy to deport Libyan academic jailed for terrorism

Rome, Feb 9 (IANS/AKI) Italy is set to expel Libyan researcher Khadiga Shabbi after a court in Palermo sentenced her to a year and eight months in prison for inciting terrorism. The public prosecutor’s office in Palermo signed an order on Wednesday authorising Shabbi’s deportation at the request of Italian anti-terrorism police, Adnkronos news agency reported. Although the Palermo court handed 46-year-old Shabbi a suspended sentence last Friday, she remained in police custody as she had no valid residency permit. She planned to appeal her sentence, her lawyer was quoted as saying. She was arrested in Palermo in December 2015 and had arrived in Italy three years ago to complete a doctorate in economics at the University of Palermo.

February 08, 2017 19:18 UTC

Muscat: Had we not taken action, we would have been facing a humanitarian crisis

Prime Minister rejects claims that nothing has changed following agreement, says Opposition must not be paying attentionPrime Minister Joseph Muscat has reiterated his belief that had an agreement not been signed with Libya, Europe would have faced a humanitarian crisis come spring. “Before the Libya agreement, the EU was smart enough to start working on Niger. “A lot of people just transport people in Libya because they have nothing else. “Since the [2015 Valletta] summit, more migrants have crossed the Mediterranean than have ever crossed before. “All I have heard from is cynicism,” he said.He pushed back against claims that nothing had been done on migration, adding that everywhere he goes, “the Valletta summit is described as a watershed even” for migration.

February 08, 2017 19:07 UTC

News Roundup - Wed, Feb 08, 2017

_____________________GECOL said the electricity network that connects eastern and western regions has been joined again after two years of severance due to clashes in Benghazi. This step will help unify the power network in the country, stabilize it and drop the outage hours. ____________________Administrative Control Authority said, responding to state institutions that cast doubt on its latest decision to dismiss a number of officials, all of its decisions that are posted on its website and social media are legal procedures. ____________________Libyan Airlines denied the news that said the EU had lifted the embargo on its flights to EU countries. An official at the airliner said they will meet with EU officials next July to discuss the issue.

February 08, 2017 15:33 UTC

New flights to two Libya hot-zones raise security concerns

In each cases, return flights to Malta are advertised for the same days.The flights are listed as ‘charters’ but are actually scheduled to run up to at least 26 March.MaltaToday has confirmed that Malta-based (and registered) Medavia will be operating the flights, using its own aircraft, disproving the reports on African Intelligence. MaltaToday has learned that the application was not accepted because the company did not satisfy various criteria.A spokesman for Afriqiyah confirmed that the four new weekly flights were not Afriqiyah flights. Malta and other states, on the other hand, allows flights under very strict conditions. But Al-Qaeda’s Libyan affiliate, Ansar al-Sharia, is very prominent in eastern Libya. In Benghazi, its militants have been present since the overthrow of Gaddafi in 2011 and have been continuously battling the LNA.

February 08, 2017 06:32 UTC

EU blocks refugees from Libya, somehow Trump is attacked

Most experienced extreme hardship on the route: reports of beatings, rapes and torture in Libya are common. The EU backed the deal at the summit, providing an additional €200m ($216m) to an EU fund for Africa (already worth €1.8bn), and confirming plans to train up the Libyan coast guard. Libya today is close to lawless: the GNA has limited control outside of Tripoli, the capital, while the coast is ruled by competing militias. The EU is mulling getting neighbouring countries, such as Tunisia or Egypt, involved, but the plans are vague. The Italian government has been complaining to the EU about the failure to tackle African migration for decades.

February 08, 2017 01:07 UTC

News Roundup - Tue, Feb 07, 2017

___________________Janzour education bureau said schools reopened Tuesday after being closed for two days. ___________________UN-proposed government’s Foreign Ministry dismissed Libya’s Ambassador to Canada, Fathi Al-Baja, and appointed Khalid Al-Sahli in his place. ___________________Libya’s Red Crescent returned a four-month-old baby girl to Sudanese authorities after the girl’s father was killed fighting alongside IS militants in Sirte. ___________________Al-Khalij Al-Arabi Oil Company’s service teams managed to stop the leakage in pipeline 30 in Missala field and fixed it in not time. The company hailed the efforts of the team by sending the workers a Thank You letter.

February 07, 2017 15:00 UTC

Libyan Investment Authority denies reports of armed men taking over headquarters in Tripoli

The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) in Tripoli has refuted reports of armed men taking over the LIA headquarters, which have been circulated by some media outlets and on social media, saying the reports are untrue. The UN-installed Presidency Council led by Fayaz Sirraj defied the court ruling and claimed that Breish stormed the LIA headquarters with force. This ruling was made following administrative appeal number 250/2017 made by Breish. The LIA recovered in September 2016 $53.8 million that had been managed by Cornhill Capital, after a three-year battle. It also recovered an additional $73 million after actively pursuing its rights against Lehman Brothers.

February 07, 2017 08:48 UTC

Glencore Extends Deal To Lift 230,000 Bpd Of Libyan Oil

Commodities giant Glencore has extended its deal with Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) to be the exclusive trader of around 230,000 bpd of Libya’s current crude oil production of around 700,000 bpd, Reuters reported on Monday, citing sources familiar with the deal. The agreement gives Glencore advantage over commodity trading rivals Vitol and Trafigura in Libya’s crude oil trading market for a second year in a row. Oil Needs A Serious Catalyst To BreakoutBack in 2015, Glencore secured a deal with Libya’s NOC to buy half of the country’s then oil output of around 400,000 bpd. Lately, Libya has recovered its crude oil production to around 700,000 bpd in January. The country seeks to increase oil production to 1.25 million bpd by the end of 2017 and 1.6 million bpd by 2022, the chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation, Mustafa Sanalla, said last month.

February 06, 2017 23:59 UTC

How quarrel over tobacco sent Libya into darkness

A woman prepares a meal by candlelight during a blackout in Tripoli, Libya, Jan. 15, 2017. A few days earlier, southern Libya had suffered a complete blackout as well. In the past, Libya generated surplus electricity, which it exported to Tunisia and Egypt. This episode is not unusual in lawless Libya, where local authority does not exist and what central government there is cannot enforce law and order. In fact, the security situation and economic situation, including rising prices and lack of access to cash, are getting worse.

February 06, 2017 22:37 UTC

Agricultural Project No.45 in Jufra vandalized, its equipment stolen

The Agricultural Project No.45 in Jufra city was sabotaged and almost completely damaged – including sideline facilities – putting a merciless end to the efforts spent on conducting the project, said the official responsible for local affairs in Sukna town, Mohammed Ganifid. Speaking to the press, Ganifid said the project, which is founded on 2000 hectares and has got 300 farms-to-be, is meant to plant palm and olive trees in western Sukna town, but it was vandalized and damaged to the extent that it has been demolished.

February 06, 2017 18:33 UTC

Amazigh High Council expresses preparedness to fight so-called Libyan Arab Army

The member of the High Council of Libyan Amazigh, Hisham Al-Hamadi, has denounced the statements made by the House of Representatives’ member, Ali Al-Tekbali, accusing what he called “the Amazigh Army” of occupying Tripoli’s western area. “Al-Tekbali’s statements prove the amount of immorality the HoR has reached.” Al-Hamadi added, saying Libya’s Amazigh have boycotted the HoR both in nominations and elections from the start. We will fight the so-called Arab Army.” Al-Hamadi explained, denouncing the racial demeanor of the Tobruk-based HoR toward the the Amazigh’s case. Rogue General, Khalifa Haftar, has called his Dignity Operation forces “Libyan Arab Army” which is very provocative for Libya’s Amazigh, whose armed brigades have opposed Operation Dignity. They also fought against pro- Operation Dignity forces in Tripoli during Libya Dawn Operation in 2014.

February 06, 2017 17:31 UTC

Vella urges Egypt to provide opportunities to youth so as to ensure stability

Foreign minister George Vella urges Egypt to provide more opportunities to youth, address openings towards civil society and political ctivityForeign affairs minister George Vella urged Egypt to provide more opportunities to its youth, as a means of ensuring stability in the North African country.“The stability of Egypt is crucial for stability in the region, and an essential element in this respect will be how it will provide opportunities for its young population,” Vella told the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. “At the same time, Egypt needs to address openings towards civil society and political activity. In this connection, Malta supports an open dialogue, which should also take into account Egyptian sensitivities when raising our legitimate concerns. Egypt remains a leader at the forefront of developments in the Middle East and North Africa. The humanitarian situation remains a cause for great concern, and no effort should be spared towards reconciliation.

February 06, 2017 17:26 UTC

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