Tag Archives: Libya

Libyan Foreign Minister exchanges opinions with MEPs

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Libyan Interim government Abdulhadi Ibrahim Lahweej visited the European Parliament on October 15 to exchange opinions with MEP on the Libyan conflict resolution. Although the top diplomat had discussions behind closed doors, he was eloquent with Brussels press corps about the range of problems in focus: the issues of interférence into home affairs of Libya by foreign governments, growing terrorist threat, illicit arms trafficking, and humanitarian crisis.

In violation of UN ban Turkey provides with armement, conducting ongoing aggression against Libya, while Qatar ensures financing, the Minister said, accusing both of supporting terrorism.

We are confronted not only with a problem of militias, but also with aggression of Turkey and Qatar“, Minister Lahweej said. “We are taking about authorities of these states, but not people”, he added.

The violation of UN arms embargo and terrorism are the issues of grave concern of the Libyan top diplomat, who started his visit to Brussels with a highly symbolical gesture of laying the wreath to victims of Brussels terrorist attack at Metro station Malbeek.

The visit of the Minister to Brussels is a significant step towards the efforts of German diplomacy to organise the announced conference on Libya end October – beginning November. However the terrorism remans the major obstacle on the way to peace and reconciliation between two major centre of power in the East and West of the torn by conflict country.. In May Tobruk Parliament defined the Muslim Brotherhood at power in Tripoli as “terrorist group“. Minister Lahweej repeatedly confirmed the determination of Interim government to built democratic *inclusive* Libya, where “every citizen is heard“.

While seeing political divergence of views as a feature of modern democratic societies, the Libyan top diplomat underlined that the compromise with terrorism is not possible.

Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who commands the Libya National Army (LNA) started march on Tripoli in April, announcing the intention to liberate the capital city from terrorist groups, keeping “hostage” Chairman Al Sarraj, and his administration, backed by UN and the EU.

Mare Jonio: Salvini refuses migrant entry

Italian Interior minister Matteo Salvini signed an order banning the Mare Jonio migrant transportation vessel from entering  national waters. The order refuses the Mare Jonio from entering, transiting or stopping in Italian waters, according to Lega party closed ports policy for NGO ships operating in Mediterranean to provide migrants from Libya coasts with reliable and effective transport to navigate to European ports.

Mediterranea Saving Humans, the Italian NGO running the ship, said the Italian coast guard had asked the authorities to offer a safe port for the vessel.
Mediterranea Saving Humans said its request for instructions regarding the rescue of 98 migrants by its Mare Ionio ship to the Italian sea rescue coordination center was responded ”as usual”, redirecting to the Libyan authorities.
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Mare Jonio completed the boarding of the 98 people from a dinghy that had been drifting off Libya. Among passengers there are 26 women, at least 8 of whom claim they are pregnant, 22 children under age 10 and at least six people claiming they are minors.

There are 500 million Africans without birth certificate or other identity document, according to the World Bank. Therefore it is impossible to establish their identities. European governments have adopted practice of attributing a fictitious date of birth to African migrants to integrate them into societies, and open access to social systems.

Lifeline NGO imposes migrants on Malta

Italy‘s interior minister Matteo Salvini is refusing a German NGO rescue ship #Eleonore carrying 100 migrants an opportunity of docking. Matteo Salvini continues an effective policy of protection of Italy maritime border, as well as a strategy of the imposition of solidarity on the other EU member-states, leaving Rome for too long alone to resolve the problem of exodus of Africans from Sahel, the other conflict zones, and failed states of the continent.

According to the NGO the dingy 100 passengers were taken aboard “sinking” roughly 50 kilometers (30 miles) off the Libyan coast on August 26. (Image below: illustration).Migrants boat Libya coast

Captain Claus-Peter Reisch claims that the rescue had taken place “literally in the last second.” However, he added, “we still haven’t received a positive response from EU states.”

The charity Lifeline, which operates the 20-meter (65-foot) ship, Eleonore, has urged German government to assist in finding a safe harbor. However they warned that in case of an “emergency”, the boat will have to dock somewhere without a permission.

The politicians should deal with it quickly,” Lifeline spokesperson Axel Steier informed Germany’s Catholic news agency, KNA, “Otherwise, we’ll have to deal with it.

There are about 30 people who claim that they are minors, however in absence practice of birth certificate issuing in Africa, this information can not be verified. According to the World Bank 500 million Africans have no birth certificate, neither passport or identity card.

At present the vessel is next to Malta coast, which also refuses the docking, but delivered supply to the boat. The vessel is being supplied with water, couscous, apples, disinfectant and other basic necessities, as well as toys for children.

Film-maker Jonathan Schörnig reports on difficult conditions on the Eleonore. There is not enough space for all rescued people to sleep, however they try to cheer up with songs.

In two letters addressed to the Armed Forces of Malta (and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Interior Minister Michael Farrugia) and the other to the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Mr Avramopoulos, Lifeline says that following yesterday’s rescue, they would hope for a ‘swift and humane solution for the 101 people on board.’

So far the EU has not offered a plan of sharing the migrants, claiming asylum, among the member-states.

There were about 134,000 migrant arrivals to Europe in 2018, which is a decrease from 180,000 arrivals in previous year. Spain was the biggest destination in 2018, having received some 60,000 migrants. This compares to nearly 46,000 in Greece and 23,000 in Italy, according the the European Commission report monitoring the Mediterranean sea route.

 

Italy ends NGO planes search operations

Italy has stopped two planes used by NGOs to search for migrant boats navigating from African coast to Europe in the Mediterranean.

The planes – Moonbird and Colibri – have been used by the German NGO Sea-Watch and the French NGO Pilotes Volontaires respectively and have been undertaking reconnaissance missions over the Mediterranean since 2017.

Lately neither aircraft could take off because the Italian civil aviation authority said they could “only be used for recreational and non-professional activities”.

‘Ocean Viking’ migrants enter EU

The Ocean Viking vessel which has been navigating in the Mediterranean for fortnight with migrants from Libyan coast on board will dock in Malta after six EU countries reached an agreement, France‘s interior minister said on August 23.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said France would receive 150 out of the 356 migrants from board of the Norwegian-flagged ship. He added Germany, Portugal, Romania, Luxembourg and Ireland were taking part in the agreement.

Ocean Viking, was stranded at sea for fortnight awaiting port access after being denied entry by Malta and requests to Italy did not receive any response.

Castaner announces the arrival of 150 migrants from the #OceanViking boat. He is Minister of the Interior: his duty is to protect our borders, not to help the illegals to cross them!” wrote Nicals Bay (France, RN), Member of European Parliament in his Twitter micro blog.

Prosecutor orders seizure of Open Arms vessel

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (Socialist) has sent a vessel to escort Open Arms from the surroundings of Lampedusa to Palma, Mallorca. This gesture has been intended to end standoff between the Italian Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini (Lega), and the NGO, transporting migrants from Libyan coast to Italy.

Salvini vowed to upgrade the problem of the flows of illegal immigration from Africa to the level of the EU, pointing out that the Dublin regulation is not sustainable any more, and calling the other EU member-states to take their fair share participating in relocation plans for African migrants.

Meanwhile he prosecutor’s office of Agrigento (Sicily) rules the immediate landing of all persons on board of Open Arms vessel in the port of Lampedusa and the provisional seizure of the ship.
Finally, the nightmare is over and the 83 people on board will receive immediate assistance on land” wrote NGO for the Twitter micro blog.

However the Italian government expects the EU member-states, which made the pledges, to offer their hospitality to the migrants, allowing the relocation of some of the arrived Africans. All of them claiming asylum, and some of them have already declared themselves as minors to get ashore, but almost immediately Salvini revealed eight persons misled the authorities about their age, and in reality the “boys” were young men around 30.

Joining the international pressure on Italian government, the president of the European Parliament David Sassolidemanded to end the standoff, and allow the 83 African migrants to land in Lampedusa.

 

Open Arms migrants receive Hollywood-style support

The Spanish ship Open Arms has been stranded off Italy‘s island of Lampedusa for eight days because none of the EU governments is willing to accept any number of migrants from the group of the 121 passengers navigated from Libyan coasts.

The Hollywood star Richard Gere helped to bring food and supplies to the boat and asked for support for the migrants and NGO, whose passengers include nine-month-old Ethiopian twins.

Everyone is doing okay now,” Gere said in a video published by Open Arms.

The rescue ship has been waiting for eight days for any EU government to welcome migrants. However not everybody is convinced by migrants drama: “Richard Gere on the Open Arms? I hope you get a tan and that you feel good … Since the ship is an NGO that flies the Spanish flag, they can disembark the 120 immigrants in Ibiza or Formentera, right?”  wrote Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

The 70 years old asylum legislation, created after the WWII, has not been adapted after the collapse of the colonialism. It is worth mentioning that the key documents – the  Geneva Refugée Convention (1951)and its 1967 Protocol, were concluded still in colonial context, while Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast) became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain its independence from European colonization in 1957. At times of endorsement of Geneva Convention, it was beyond imagination that the legislation would be used to enhance flows of illegal migration from African continent to Europe.

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