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Archive for Libya

Newsline: Greece’s top diplomat calls off Tripoli visit on touchdown

Greece’s foreign minister called off the first leg of a visit to Libya on Thursday, refusing to disembark from his plane after landing in the capital of Tripoli, Greek authorities said. (https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/greeces-top-diplomat-calls-off-tripoli-visit-touchdown-93477794) Instead, he flew to the city of Benghazi, in the country’s east. The Greek foreign ministry described the fracas — effectively a snub of Libya’s western, Tripoli-based administration — as the result of a violation of protocol and agreed-on terms for the visit. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias was on a two-part trip that was to include a meeting with the president of Libya’s western, Tripoli-based government, Mohamed Younis Menfi. That was to be followed by a meeting in Benghazi with the east-based administration. A terse statement from the Greek ministry indicated Dendias did not want to meet with his Tripoli counterpart, Najla Mangoush, yet she came to the airport to greet him.

Newsline: US, Emirati ambassadors discuss efforts for holding elections in Libya

The US Ambassador/Envoy to Libya, Richard Norland, met with the UAE Ambassador to Libya, Muhammad Al Shamsi for talks that focused on efforts to hold elections in Libya as soon as possible. “I thanked him for the role the UAE is playing on the UN SC and in its engagements with key Libyan leaders to stabilize Libya,” Norland wrote on Twitter. (https://www.libyaobserver.ly/inbrief/norland-emirati-ambassador-libya-discuss-efforts-holding-elections-libya) In a phone call with the Presidential Council Vice President Abdullah Al-Lafi, last Monday, ambassador Norland called on the Government of National Unity to continue engagement with Libyan institutions to pave the way for presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible.

Newsline: Russia to reopen embassy in Libya

Russia has decided to reopen its embassy in Libya although its head will temporarily be based in neighbouring Tunisia, Interfax news agency cited Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Friday. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-russia-diplomacy/russia-to-reopen-embassy-in-libya-ifax-cites-foreign-minister-idUSKBN2441AJ) Libya has been split since 2014, with the internationally recognised government based in the capital, Tripoli, and the northwest while military leader Khalifa Haftar in the country’s second city Benghazi rules the east. Russia evacuated its diplomats from Libya in October 2013 after an armed faction attacked its embassy in Tripoli. Lavrov, speaking at a meeting with the speaker of Libya’s pro-Haftar eastern parliament Aguila Saleh, reiterated Russia’s desire for a cessation of hostilities in Libya and the beginning of political dialogue.

Newsline: Libyan government condemns Damascus embassy move

The U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) on Wednesday denounced Bashar Assad regime’s decision to hand over the Libyan Embassy in Damascus to Khalifa Haftar’s government. In a statement, the GNA’s Foreign Ministry said the handover “violates U.N. Security Council resolution prohibiting dealing with any parallel bodies to the GNA, which is the only legitimate government in the country.” (https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/libyan-govt-condemns-giving-embassy-in-damascus-to-illegal-haftar/news) The Tripoli-seated ministry stressed that the move was “a violation of the sovereignty of the Libyan state.” On Tuesday, the Assad government reopened the Libyan Embassy in Damascus after an eight-year hiatus and handed it over to Haftar’s government. Syria has become the first to officially recognize Haftar’s government, which does not have international recognition.

Newsline: Libya’s eastern government opens Damascus embassy

Libya’s eastern-based government linked to military commander Khalifa Haftar opened an embassy in Syria on Tuesday and called for the two countries to unite in their common fight against Turkey-backed militant groups. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-libya/libyas-eastern-government-opens-damascus-embassy-pledges-united-fight-against-turkey-idUSKBN20Q1GJ) Syria has faced resistance from Turkish forces allied to rebels in its northeast. Libya has two governments, one based in the capital Tripoli and widely recognized internationally, and another based in the east. Eastern commander Haftar has launched an assault to capture Tripoli, and is fighting forces aligned with the government there which are backed militarily by Turkey. “Terrorism will kill any Arab country if it’s permitted and if the criminal (President Tayyip) Erdogan is permitted to win this fight,” Syria’s deputy foreign minister Faisal Mekdad said at a ceremony to open the embassy. President Bashar al-Assad has looked to shed his country’s pariah status and regain Arab support. The United Arab Emirates, which backs Haftar in Libya, re-opened its Damascus embassy in December 2018 and has forged closer ties after once supporting rebels fighting against Assad. Libya’s diplomatic missions are generally aligned with the government based in Tripoli, but diplomats in some foreign capitals have supported the rival government based in the east.

Newsline: U.S. Ambassador pays first visit to Libya

The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli (temporarily in Tunis) reported that U.S. Ambassador Norland paid his first ever visit to Libya. However, this visit was to eastern Libya where he met Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army which is leading the attack on the capital Tripoli.The embassy reported that Norland met Hafter ‘‘to reaffirm the importance of a negotiated settlement’’. It said that the Ambassador ‘‘noted General Haftar’s stated commitment to a permanent ceasefire and reiterated the commitment of the Berlin participants to de-escalation, the arms embargo, and a political solution to the conflict’’. (https://www.libyaherald.com/2020/02/19/u-s-ambassador-norland-pays-first-visit-to-libya-meets-haftar-first/) The U.S. Embassy said that the ‘‘Ambassador looks forward to visiting Libya’s capital and meeting with Prime Minister Sarraj as soon as security conditions permit”.

Newsline: Libya closes Egypt embassy citing ‘security’ reasons

Libya’s embassy in Egypt was closed indefinitely from Dec. 15, the mission said on its Facebook page citing security concerns. “The embassy of Libya in Cairo… suspended its work due to security reasons starting Sunday and until further notice,” a statement said without giving further details. (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/libya-closes-egypt-embassy-citing-security-reasons-149880) It however flatly denied in a separate statement reports suggesting that some embassy staff had broken ranks with the UN-recognised Government of National Accord based in Tripoli. The GNA’s foreign ministry confirmed that the embassy had been closed indefinitely, in a statement on Facebook. It said the work at the mission was suspended in order to protect staff after a series of recent “violations” targeting the embassy, including attempts by some to “blackmail” employees in order to obtain money. The foreign ministry gave no further details but said: “work is underway with the Egyptian authorities to put an end to these violations and secure the embassy as required.” The embassy would resume its operations when it is secured, it added. The Libyan embassy in neighboring Egypt has long been at the center of a power struggle between the country’s rival administrations in the east and the west.

Newsline: Greece expels Libyan ambassador in dispute with Turkey

Greece ordered the expulsion of the Libyan ambassador in the latest escalation of a dispute over a controversial deal signed between Libya’s U.N.-supported government and Turkey on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean. Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the ambassador had been summoned to the ministry in the morning to be informed of the decision and was given 72 hours to leave the country. Turkey’s foreign minister condemned the move as “outrageous,” while the Libyan foreign minister described it as “unacceptable.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/greece-expels-libyan-ambassador-in-row-with-turkey/2019/12/06/f158bb5a-1819-11ea-80d6-d0ca7007273f_story.html) The deal reached between Libya and Turkey would give Turkey access to an economic zone across the Mediterranean, over the objections of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, which lie between Turkey and Libya geographically. All three have blasted the accord as being contrary to international law. The deal has added tension to Turkey’s ongoing dispute with Greece, Cyprus and Egypt over oil and gas drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

Newsline: Lebanese Embassy Comes Under Attack in Tripoli

The Lebanese embassy in Tripoli has been attacked by an outraged people in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, El-Nashra news website reported, Lebanese Ambassador to Libya Mohammad Sukaina said. According to the envoy, the attackers didn’t manage to get into the building but tore off the country’s flag and a tablet from the embassy’s wall. The envoy further noted that no employees had been injured as the embassy was closed. Later in the day, the Libyan High Council of State called on for the suspension of diplomatic relations with Lebanon over the desecration of a Libyan flag in Beirut.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201901141071460490-embassy-tripoli-attack/

Newsline: South Korean ambassador says embassy to resume work in Tripoli in September

The South Korean embassy in Tripoli will reopen in September and the country’s firms will resume suspended projects in Libya afterwards, the South Korean ambassador, Choi Sung-Soo, told the deputy head of the Presidential Council Ahmed Mitig. The two officials also talked about mutual relations and discussed the fate of the South Korean national who is abducted in southern Libya along with two Filipinos. Ambassador Sung-Soo thanked Mitig for the efforts exerted by Libya to secure the release of the abducted national who has been abducted since last July as he was working at Hasawna Man-Made River system. Meanwhile, Mitig hailed the reopening of the South Korean embassy, reassuring the ambassador that they are following the kidnap case closely along with the security apparatuses.

https://www.libyaobserver.ly/news/south-korean-ambassador-says-embassy-resume-work-tripoli-september