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Archive for Libya

Newsline: Top diplomats did not attend Arab League meeting in Libya

A handful of top Arab diplomats met Sunday in the Libyan capital in a gathering boycotted by powerful foreign ministers who argued that the mandate of the Tripoli-based government has ended. Five of the 22 member states of the Arab League sent their foreign ministers to the periodic, consultative meeting. They included the chief diplomats of neighboring Algeria and Tunisia, local media reported. (https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Chief-diplomats-boycott-Libya-hosted-Arab-League-17734016.php) Others sent their envoys to the meeting in Tripoli. Among those boycotting the gathering was Egypt, which questioned the legitimacy of Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dbeibah’s government after Libya’s east-based parliament appointed a rival premier last year. The foreign ministers of Gulf monarchies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also did not attend, as well as Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit. Najla Mangoush, the foreign minister of Libya’s Tripoli-based administration, said in televised comments they “insist on full exercise of Libya’s rights” in the Arab League, in reference to the rotating leadership of the pan-Arab organization. In September, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry withdrew from an Arab League session chaired by Mangoush, protesting her representing Libya at the pan-Arab summit.

Newsline: U.N. shelves bid by Myanmar, Afghanistan and Libya for representation

The United Nations General Assembly on Friday approved postponing – for the second time – a decision on whether the Afghan Taliban administration and the Myanmar junta can send a United Nations ambassador to New York. The 193-member General Assembly approved without a vote the decision by the U.N. credentials committee, which also deferred a decision on rival claims to Libya’s U.N. seat. The nine-member committee includes Russia, China and the United States. The postponement of decisions on Myanmar, Afghanistan and Libya leaves the current envoys in place. But the credentials committee said it could “revert to consideration of these credentials at a future time in the seventy-seventh session” of the General Assembly, which ends in September next year. (https://neuters.de/world/un-shelves-bid-by-afghan-taliban-myanmar-junta-representation-2022-12-16/) Competing claims were again made for the seats of Myanmar and Afghanistan with the Taliban administration and Myanmar’s junta pitted against envoys of the governments they ousted last year. U.N. acceptance of the Taliban administration or Myanmar’s junta would be a step toward the international recognition sought by both. A rival claim was also made this year for Libya’s U.N. seat – currently held by the Government of National Unity in Tripoli – by a “Government of National Stability” led by Fathi Bashagha and backed by a parliament in the country’s east.

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: Senegal’s diplomat appointed new U.N. Libya envoy

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has appointed Senegalese diplomat and former government minister Abdoulaye Bathily as his Libya envoy, the U.N. Libya mission said in a statement on Saturday. (https://news.yahoo.com/u-n-libya-envoy-senegals-093814803.html) Bathily succeeds Jan Kubis, who stepped down from the role late last year as diplomacy aimed at resolving Libya’s longstanding conflict faltered in the run-up to an aborted national election.

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.