Clashes near Libya-Sudan border

Four Chadian rebels were killed and others wounded in clashes with local fighters from Libya's southeast town of Kufra near the border with Sudan on Thursday. Local sources reported that the city's protection force, Sobol Salam brigade, clashed with the Chadian rebels in Jabal Hanagar, 400 km south of the city, after they abducted three locals two days ago. Kufra fighters managed to free the abductees, the sources confirmed, adding that four local fighters were wounded in the clashes. Also Read:Kufra revolutionaries take Bizimah oasis, leave Darfur rebels stranded in desertSudanese rebels killed in southeast LibyaSudanese rebel group acknowledges fighting for Khalifa Haftar’s forces in Libya

February 02, 2017 19:18 UTC

EU poised to close off migration from Libya

“Now it is time to close down the route from Libya to Italy,” Tusk said after talks in Brussels with Libyan Premier Fayez Al Serraj and earlier with Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. “The EU has shown it is able to close the irregular migration routes, as it has done in the eastern Mediterranean,” Tusk stated. Many thousands of people have died in recent years trying to reach the EU from Libya by boat. Serraj, who heads Libya’s UN-backed unity government, said the EU had so far earmarked insufficient resources for his country. The EU has not given an overall figure for its aid to Libya but Serraj called it “a small amount”.

February 02, 2017 17:22 UTC

News Roundup - Thu, Feb 02, 2017

_____________________________________Central Bank of Libya received a newly printed amount of banknotes that arrived from Britain into Mitiga Airport, Tripoli. The CBL added that it will distribute the money, which is 210 million dinars, to all banks across Libya. _________________Benghazi municipality and the UNDP provided a number of electricity generators as part of stabilization of Benghazi program. _________________Several engineers from the Turkish company Enka arrived in Ubari to check on the status of the Ubari gas power station prior to resuming work this month. Reuters added that the fighters went first to Egypt on board a plane that took off from Benghazi’s Benina airport and then from Egypt to Russia.

February 02, 2017 15:00 UTC

OVER A BARREL: Libya demands EU taxpayers cough up or face massive migrant influx

The EU-Turkey deal has led to a dramatic fall in the number of migrants arriving in Greece, but the pressure has simply switched to Italy instead and the route through Libya. Libyan prime minister Fayez al-Sarraj visited the Belgian capital today to lay down his demands, after his Maltese counterpart Joseph Muscat warned a fresh migrant crisis could kill the whole EU project. We hope that the EU mechanisms to help Libya will be more practical. EU Council president Donald Tusk said: “Europe has proved it is able to close down irregular routes of migration as we did on the eastern Mediterranean route. “Now it is time to close down the route from Libya to Italy.

February 02, 2017 14:15 UTC

€200 million migration plan on EU summit table

"This includes building capacity to save lives at sea or on land, strengthening the rule of law and fighting against criminal networks. "The UNCHR urged a move away from migration management based on the automatic detention of refugees and migrants in inhumane conditions in Libya towards the creation of proper reception services. "Open reception centres should offer safe and dignified conditions, including for children and victims of trafficking, and respect key protection safeguards. We hope that tomorrow’s summit will also help move towards the adoption of a common approach to migration by the European Union. This should include a significant expansion of opportunities for safe pathways such as resettlement and humanitarian admission, among others, to avoid dangerous journeys.

February 02, 2017 13:41 UTC



Tusk: Libya migration deal ‘within reach’

EU council president Donald Tusk says closing down the central Mediterranean migrant route between Libya and Europe is within reach following meeting with Libyan and Italian prime ministersThe European Union council president Donald Tusk said the Friday summit in Malta could be a breakthrough in the bloc’s attempts to stem the flow of asylum seekers from Libya.Following a meeting in Brussels with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and Libyan Prime Minister of the UN-backed but fragile Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez Al-Serraj, Tusk said the trio discussed the EU migration deal with Turkey.“Now it is time to close down the route from Libya to Italy,” he said, adding “I can assure you that it is within our reach.”“What we need is the full determination to do that. We owe it first and foremost to those who suffer and risk their lives. But we also owe it to Italians and all Europeans.”In the Malta meeting, EU leaders are expected to discuss the migration p[lan and the mooted deal with Libya, which has so far been resisted by the European Commission.The Maltese presidency of the European Council mooted afor the European Commission to explore a controversial way to send migrants and refugees back to Libya, by suspendingin times of crisis.The proposal, carried in a non-paper presented to home affairs ministers, contained a stunning suggestion to suspend the international humanitarian rule that prohibits pushbacks of migrants fleeing persecution, in times of particular crisis.Malta was said to enjoy not only the backing of Mediterranean EU states, but also those northern countries who will have elections this year and are facing an onslaught from far-rightists and nationalist populist parties.In an aide-memoire that was later evaluated by the European Commission, Malta was told that suspending non-refoulement would raise “complex legal issues” under European and international, as well as inside the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights.While vowing to support the Libyan people, Tusk said reducing the number of irregular migrants risking their lives crossing the Central Mediterranean is a priority.“This is not sustainable for Europe nor for Libya, as the smugglers let people drown and undermine the authority of the Libyan state for their own profit. Tomorrow I will put forward additional concrete and operational measures to strengthen our work, to more effectively tackle the smuggling and trafficking networks and help manage migratory flows more effectively.”

February 02, 2017 13:14 UTC

Updated | ‘Closing’ sea border would lock refugees in horrendous conditions

It will trap tens of thousands of people in conflict ravaged country and expose them to the risk of torture and exploitation. "This includes building capacity to save lives at sea or on land, strengthening the rule of law and fighting against criminal networks. "The UNCHR urged a move away from migration management based on the automatic detention of refugees and migrants in inhumane conditions in Libya towards the creation of proper reception services. "Concrete measures in support of the Government of Libya are needed to build capacity to register new arrivals, support the voluntary return of migrants, process asylum claims and offer solutions to refugees. This should include a significant expansion of opportunities for safe pathways such as resettlement and humanitarian admission, among others, to avoid dangerous journeys.

February 02, 2017 12:11 UTC

Concerned about refugees, U.N. experts add to censure of Trump move

Concerned about refugees, U.N. experts add to censure of Trump moveU.N. human rights experts warned that asylum seekers could face torture if not given safe harbor and the Vatican called for openness to other cultures on Wednesday, adding to a drumbeat of international criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump's travel curbs. The move, which his administration says is aimed at protecting the United States from terrorist attacks, has been condemned by many countries and has sparked protests and court challenges in the United States. A panel of U.N. human rights experts urged the Trump administration on Wednesday to protect people fleeing war and persecution, and said the measure contravened international humanitarian and human rights laws. The UAE, a major oil exporter, is a close ally of the United States and a member of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamist militants in Syria. In the United States, four U.S. states - Massachusetts, New York, Virginia and Washington - have sued to overturn the order on the grounds it flouts constitutional guarantees of religious freedom.

February 02, 2017 08:57 UTC

EU migration plans are as bad as Trump’s

If you thought Trump’s travel ban was bad, the EU migration plans pushed by Malta are as inhumane and unlawfulThe economy minister is allegedly caught with his pants down (while blaming cold water for his shrinking reputation) and the whole country is talking about it. I won’t compare the outcry to that of the Panama Papers revelations. This is absolutely intolerable.Providing protection to refugees and allowing people to seek asylum is not about doing them a favour in the hope that it will boost the economy. The people – very much like a Xarabank audience – clap and boo according to what serves their short-sighted interests. In the meantime, democracy, the environment and the most vulnerable cry.

February 02, 2017 06:42 UTC

Libya considering letting EU ships chase people-smugglers in its waters

UN-backed prime minister says foreign ships could be permitted to operate in Libyan waters alongside national military coastguardLibya’s UN-backed prime minister, Fayez al-Serraj, has said Nato or EU ships could be permitted to operate in Libyan waters alongside the national military coastguard to slow the flow of people-smuggling across the Mediterranean.The move came as a report claimed elements of the Libyan coastguard were complicit in the smuggling and said returning anyone caught on boats to coastal detention centres was risky since conditions there were horrendous.Serraj’s comments after talks at Nato on Wednesday will be a boost to EU plans to move its anti-smuggling mission Operation Sophia into Libyan waters to help prevent migrants from reaching Europe. The EU is due to discuss a comprehensive plan for Libya at a special heads of state summit in Malta on Friday.“If there is something to be carried out jointly between the Libyan navy and any other party interested in extending a hand to the Libyan navy, that would be possible,” Serraj said.“Of course, we have to modernise our navy flotilla and enhance its capacities. Nato or any other friendly nation on a bilateral basis could extend a hand in this.”Smugglers’ boats currently can only be turned back to Libya if they are stopped inside Libyan waters, but both Nato and the EU need Libyan government consent to operate inside its sovereign waters. This year tens of thousands of migrants will face the risk of drowning while the smugglers’ networks benefit from the political chaos in Libya.Serraj, struggling to gain authority inside Libya, is under pressure not to be seen to be succumbing excessively to outsiders.On Wednesday Italy pledged €200m (£170m) in funds to several African countries as part of its drive to reduce migration at source. The foreign minister, Angelino Alfano, said the fund – aimed at Niger, Libya and Tunisia – would help bolster the “fight against human trafficking and illegal migration”.He said Europe was not trying to build a wall but helping countries to reduce the incentive to migrate.

February 01, 2017 19:59 UTC

Libyan Economy Ministry slams embargo on exporting vegetables for two months

The Foreign Commerce and International Cooperation Department of the Libyan Ministry of Economy banned exporting vegetables from Libya for two months to balance the prices in the market. The Head of the Foreign Commerce and International Cooperation Department, Ahmed Al-Ekari, told the Head of the Customs Department that they banned Tuesday the exportation of veggies for two months as they notices a hike in their prices in the markets due to transporting the veggies to neighboring countries.

February 01, 2017 17:48 UTC

CBL to allow each Libyan citizen to buy $400 from banks by official rates

The Central Bank of Libya has announced that it is going to sell $400 (liable to increase) for each Libyan citizen with the official foreign currency rates ($1 = LYD 1.42) starting from Wednesday, February 01 and up to the end of 2017. The family bread owner can buy the money using cash or using their money that was deposited in other bank accounts they own, the CBL added, stressing that if they did not cash out the dollars during 2017, they can keep them for as long as they please. “We have the monetary coverage for this step, and we called on all commercial banks to start implementing the order starting from the date of issuing it.” The CBL indicated. It also pointed out that the CBL will continue to allow money transfers for reasons of medical treatment and study worth $7500, separately from the new order. “Our economy is fine and we won’t allow the black markets speculations to damage, we depend on the Libyan citizens’ awareness and cooperation to regain Libya’s stability.” The CBL concluded in its statement.

February 01, 2017 15:56 UTC

News Roundup - Wed, Feb 01, 2017

_________________________The Foreign Commerce and International Cooperation Department of the Libyan Ministry of Economy banned exporting vegetables from Libya for two months to balance the prices in the market. He added that the shortage has been contained as gas cylinders are available in all centers with the official pricing. _________________________The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency Directorate (TIKA) sent six tons of medicines and medicaments to Misrata Central Hospital. According to Anadolu News Agency, the medical aids went to Misrata hospital as it is treating the injured of the war on IS. He added that the container that arrived in Misrata port included 25 beds and medical mattresses, three surgery refrigerators, 10 medical beds for newborns, and 25 tables for medical services and other services.

February 01, 2017 15:22 UTC

Afriqiyah Airways cannot operate flights to Malta

Afriqiyah Airways remains on the EU’s aviation safety blacklist while the announced weekly flights from Misrata and Labraq will be operated by another company, MedaviaReports that Afriqiyah Airways will be flying to Malta are incorrect, MaltaToday has learnt, as the airline remains on the EU’s blacklist while the announced weekly flights from Misrata and Labraq will be operated by another company, the Maltese registered Medavia.All Libyan carriers are banned from flying to the European Union under the bloc’s aviation safety blacklist. No Libyan carrier is allowed to fly into the EU on commercial flights and some countries also have restrictions on EU carriers travelling out of Libya.A number of Libyan news agencies reported that Afriqiyah Airways plans to start regular charter flights to Malta from Misrata and Labraq airports as of next week.Afriqiyah Airways became a household name locally following the botched hijack two days before Christmas Day when two men loyal to the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, carrying fake weapons, diverted an internal flight to Malta.The announcement elicited disbelief in the industry with many asking whether it was safe to allow the airline to fly to Malta.But a Malta International Airport spokesperson has confirmed that Afriqiyah Airways has made no request to fly to Malta and the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) confirmed that the airline remains blacklisted.A travel agency based in Gzira is advertising regular flights from two Libyan airports, Misrata and Labraq but these flights will be operated by Medavia, which already operates chartered flights from Tripoli.However, Afriqiyah, which has been trying to enter the Maltese market, will be selling tickets for the flights.According to reports, Afriqiyah will start accepting reservations as of today. Prices are expected to be Libyan Dinar 1,300 (€860) for Misrata-Malta return, LD 750 (€500) single and LD 1,550 (€1,025) Labraq-Malta return, LD 850 (€560) single.Planit Travel Services is advertising two weekly flights from the eastern airport of Labraq (Tuesdays and Thursdays) starting from 9 February using a 29-seat aircraft.The agency is also advertising flights on Wednesday and Sunday on a 17-seat plane from Misrata starting on 5 February.Afriqiyah has a fleet of six active planes, all made by European plane maker Airbus with two Airbus A320s registered in Lithuania.In November former Air Malta CEO and Lufthansa Technik boss Louis Giordimaina was appointed to the helm of the PanAfriqiyah Airways Malta-based subsidiary, PanAfriqiyah.Giordimaina was appointed on 11 November by Afriqiyah boss Abubaker Elfortia, according to Maghreb Confidential, together with Nicole Frei, a former executive at Dublin-based CityJet.The PanAfriqiyah subsidiary is expected to enable Elfortia to fly his operation by getting round the ban on Libyan companies operating in European airspace. A spokesman for CAD has confirmed that PanAfriqiyah did not meet eligibility criteria for the issue of an EU licence.According to Maghreb Confidential, Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar – who controls the Libyan army which is loyal to what was the internationally recognised government in Tobruk – scored an important political and diplomatic victory after Air Libya circumvented the ban on Libyan carriers by flying from Malta to the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.One of Haftar’s political allies, Ali Al Ghatrani was abroad the flight from Malta to Benghazi’s Benina airport, which is controlled by Haftar’s forces.To bypass the ban, Air Libya called in Georgian aircraft leasing company Aerovista, Maghreb Confidential reported.Aerovista leased him a Boeing B737-500 under an “ACMI” contract including maintenance, flight and cabin crew and an air transport certificate valid in the EU.But MaltaToday is informed that the flight was not a commercial one and that the aircraft flew in and out of Malta on a diplomatic flight.

February 01, 2017 12:11 UTC

At Indiana universities, consternation over Trump’s immigration order

After President Trump signed an executive order halting entry to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries on Friday, Indiana colleges and universities have been reaching out to students and offering assistance. IU President McRobbie has issued the following statement about this week's executive order on immigration: https://t.co/zoUp68DUVd — Indiana University (@IndianaUniv) January 29, 2017An executive order by @POTUS on refugees and immigration disrespects Earlham's fundamental values. “As we work together to understand these events, we are aware of the concern this might cause our Ball State community,” King said. Daya is on a temporary work visa, and if she leaves, she will not be able to return as a result of the executive order. This is doing more harm than good.”Casey Smith is a student at Ball State and a USA TODAY College correspondent.

January 31, 2017 21:51 UTC



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