Tag Archives: Libya

Borrell meets Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

Brussels, 21.09.2020 Ahead of the Foreign ministers Council the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell met with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the Belarus opposition politician in exile: “We met with Sviatlana #Tsikhanouskaya ahead of #FAC. The EU has no hidden agenda. Belarusian people should be able to freely choose their president, without persecution and repression. Only an inclusive national dialogue can lead to a peaceful and sustainable solution #Belarus” the head of the EU diplomacy wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

The situation in Belrus after the sham elections is one of three major issues for discussion with EU Foreign Ministers. The other key topics for the EU diplomacy are “positive momentum” in Libya and relations with the African Union.

EU diplomacy focus on Africa

Brussels, 18.09.2020 The Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting on September 21, chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, will start at 9.30 with a discussion on current affairs.

Under this item ministers will review the most pressing issues on the international agenda, including matters relating to Lebanon, China, Turkey, Russia and Venezuela.
The Council will then exchange views on the latest developments that have taken place in Libya since the announcements made on 21 August 2020 by the Libyan political leaders on the way forward out of the crisis. The High Representative will also debrief ministers on his visit to the country on 1 September 2020.

After that, ministers will discuss relations between the EU and the African Union, in particular in preparation for the next EU-AU Foreign Ministers’ meeting. They will exchange views on bot the joint EU-Africa priorities ahead, and possible outreach to African partners on the road to the next EU-AU Summit.

Ministers will also have an opportunity to be updated on the state of play in the post-Cotonou negotiations.

Finally, the Council will discuss the latest political developments in Belarus and potential EU support for national inclusive dialogue. Ministers will also be updated on EU financial support to the people of Belarus and on the initial findings of the review of EU-Belarus relations.
Over a working lunch, ministers will exchange views on the overall partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood and how it should be framed in the future.

Libya: IRINI re-directed MV Royal Diamond 7

European Union maritime force implementing the UN arms embargo on Libya announced Thursday, September 10, it intercepted and redirected an oil tanker headed for Benghazi after determining it was carrying jet fuel in possible violation of the ban.

The MV Royal Diamond 7 was en route from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, to Benghazi, Libya, when members of the EU force’s Operation Irini boarded the ship 150 kilometers north of the Libyan city of Derna, the EU patrol informed.

This week, UN experts accused the parties in Libyan conflict and their international allies — including the UAE, Russia and Jordan on one side, and Turkey and Qatar on the other — of sending weapons and mercenaries to Libya in violation of the “totally ineffective” UN embargo.

A statement from the EU mission said its inspection aboard the Marshall Islands-flagged MV Royal Diamond 7 determined the cargo was jet fuel, which it said was “likely” to be used for military purposes.

The mission noted that jet fuel is considered military material by the U.N., which has authorised the EU military to seize weapons and halt weapons-transporting vessels bound for Libya.

The EU patrol mission has underlined it was redirecting the tanker to a European port for further investigation.

Libya was plunged into chaos when a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 has overthrown longtime dictator Colonel Gadhafi, who was later assassinated. The collapse of the state structures followed, and the rivalry for power began between different groups, splitting Libya between east, with the centre in Benghazi where Tobrouk parliament supported by Libyan National Army has it seat, and Tripoli administration, recognised by the UN, and the EU.

A boarding team board the Merchant Vessel Royal Diamond 7, in international waters, 150 kilometers north of the Libyan city of Derna, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. The European Union maritime force on errand for the supervision of the UN arms embargo on Libya reported that they had re-directed the tanker headed for Libya after determining it contained jet fuel in possible violation of the embargo. The MV Royal Diamond 7 was en route early Thursday from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates to Benghazi, Libya when members of the EU force Operation IRINI boarded the ship.

Mavrides MEP criticises EU-Turkey ‘engagment’ policy

After MEP Costas MAVRIDES speech criticizing the EU policy towards Turkey Anna van Densky interviewed him on perspectives of the Turkey membership in the EU, candidate country status, mounting tensions around drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters, breaches of human rights, and possible sanctions.

In the interview Mr. MAVRIDES underlined that regarding Turkish action in the Mediterranean it was announced that from the beginning of September they will start exploration from the ships, going beyond the Greek Islands Crete, Kasos, Karpathos, but also the first time Greece made it clear that this will not be accepted. Otherwise, we have some clear indications of de-escalation, or we are at brink of a conflict, Mr.Mavrides said.

The EU demands the respect of the international and European law, but the EU top diplomat Mr.Borrell talks about “dialog”, “breaching of our differences”, or our disputes regarding energy, reminding a tragic lesson of history, the appeasement policy which was used in 1937 to 1940 against Nazi Germany, when it was officially declared an international policy that giving concessions to Nazi will save world from total war, and the humanity paid highest price for this mistake, MEP continued.

Today the EU diplomacy does not call it “appeasement” policy, but “engagement” policy, but it follows the same steps, Mr.Mavrides pointed out. Unless the EU will form the European geopolitical strategy specifically oriented towards common defense, especially vis-à-vis Turkey, the worst scenario may repeat itself. And then Europeans will pay much heavier price, and as the supporters of the appeasement policy were condemned by history, the similar way some of nowadays politicians will be ashamed of what they say today, Mr.Mavrides warns. “The sooner we face up to the reality and defend our values as European Union having common defense, common sanctions, arms embargo, the sooner we do it, better we help people in Turkey and better we help ourselves” – Mr.Mavrides concluded. MEP MAVRIDES Chairs the Political Committee of the European Parliament (2019 – 2024) for the Mediterranean, he is member Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in Europarl and Democratic party of Cyprus.

Italy: 150 migrants landed at night

There were four migrant landings overnight at Lampedusa bringing a total to more than 150 migrants onto the island between Sicily and Libya, ANSA news agency reports. Migrant hotspot of the island has been already so full that the coronavirus checks were carried out on the harbour side.

In spite coronavirus pandemic the flows of migrant have not decreased, but started to grow following season opportunities in the calm sea. Monday May 4 arrivals were preceeded by the others in Italy and Spain, alltogether 300 migrant left Libyan coast last weekend to reach European coasts.

Matteo Salvini, the leader of Lega party has claimed the operataions are conducted by Soros-backed NGO lawyers, who are helping migrants from North Africa to reach Europe, and claim asylum there.

Concerns are also growing among aid agencies and service providers about the potential impact of COVID-19 pandemic on displaced people in Africa. Africa hosts more than 25.2 million refugees and internally displaced people. Most African refugee appeals are chronically underfunded and most displaced people are hosted in poor countries with already under-resourced health systems.

Africa houses four of the world’s six largest refugee camps (in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia). These camps are vulnerable accommodations for transmission of the coronavirus. They are overcrowded and lack of basic sanitary facilities as water, hygiene facilities, and products.

NATO: Greek delegation walks out

20.02.2020 AMENDMENT. Upon the request of NATO press office the information below is amended. Herewith is the received quote: “Acting President Attila Mesterhazy was not chairing the meeting and therefore did not ‘interrupt’ the discussion at any point.
We kindly ask you to correct your article and replace his name with ‘chairperson’ who will remain unnamed.

20.02.20 16:30 II AMENDMENT: During telephone conversation with Europe Diplomatic Magazine Marietta Giannakou named the chair of the meeting Lord Campbell of Pittenweem. “Lord Campbell prevented us to express our opinion” Marietta Giannakou said. She was at the point to leave Brussels, and promised to send a statement as soon as she arrives to Greece.

ORIGINAL INFORMATION:

19.02.2020 The Greek delegation walked out of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels on February 19 in protest at the stance of new acting president Attila Mesterhazy (pictured: from left to right Attila Mesterhazy, Jens Stoltenberg).

The incident took place as the five-member Greek delegation, which is made up of lawmakers from the country’s main political parties, were raising the issue of the contentious Turkey-Libya maritime boundaries agreement and Turkey’s violations of international law and Greek sovereign rights.

In a joint statement, the members of the delegation said that the president had been systematically interrupting their speech, leading them to withdraw in protest.

The delegation was made up of Marietta Giannakou from ruling New Democracy, Manousos Voloudakis, Theodora Tzakri and Marios Katsis from SYRIZA, and Andreas Loverdos from the center-left Movement for Change (KINAL) alliance.

20.02.2020 AMENDMENT. Upon the request of NATO press office the information above is amended. Herewith is the received quote: “Acting President Attila Mesterhazy was not chairing the meeting and therefore did not ‘interrupt’ the discussion at any point.
We kindly ask you to correct your article and replace his name with ‘chairperson’ who will remain unnamed.

EU attempts to reanimate JCPoA

The the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell convened an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council on January 10, to discuss with the 28 EU Foreign Ministers the crisis situation in Iraq and Libya, concluding a common EU strategy.

The EU diplomacy underlines its vital interest to promote peace and stability in the Middle East and Maghreb.

However Josep Borrell underlines that the situation in Libya remains a priority for the European Union and that an immediate cessation of hostilities and a sustainable ceasefire on the ground would be crucial for regional and European security.

Ahead of the meeting Charles Michel (pictured), the EU Council president, called Iranian authorities to comply with the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPoA) during a phone conversation with President Hassan Rouhani, and afterwards he urged the EU to opt for a more ambitious foreign policy.

Just spoke with Hassan Rouhani about recent developments. JCPOA remains crucial for global security. I called Iran not to pose irreversible acts,” Michel tweeted.

Amid the U.S.-Iran crisis Teheran announced that it was renouncing its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that was designed for non-proliferation of the nuclear weapons.

The Ministers have to clarify their policies vis-a-vis Iraq, where parliament voted for the expulsion of the American military. During his conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi the EU head of diplomacy reaffirmed the European “unwavering support to Iraqi sovereignty and stability in the region”. He also reconfirmed the urgent need for de-escalation and EU’s readiness to support Iraq in fighting Da’esh and engage in regional dialogue.

Mavrides denounces Turkey-GNA deal

Anna van Densky Strasbourg Planned joint conference “Turkey-Tripoli GNA Memorandum as threat to EU security” of the Chair of the Delegation on the Mediterranean Kostas MAVRIDES MEP (S&D, CY), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Interim government of Libya Abdulhadi LAHWEEJ  could not proceed as planned because of the degradation of the security situation in Benghazi,preventing the Libyan guest to come to the European Parliament, Strasbourg. The planes in Benina Benghazi Airport were destroyed or highjacked by Al-Sarraj militia, the high diplomat said.

However the Minister LAHWEEJ has send his statement in written to express the rejection of two Memoranda sealed recently between Tripoli administration and Turkey.

The two agreements are rejected by Libyan Parliament and the Interim government for two major reasons – the “unconstitutional” nature of Al-Wefaq gorvernment, which did not gain the support of the Libyan Parliament .

According to the Skhirat Agreement the mandate of the reconciliation government in Tripoli was given for one year, and it has expired long ago.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) violates the Law of Sea signed in Jamaica in 1982 between two countries that do not have common borders, and more seriously,threatens our friendly relations between neighbouring countries of Libya – Greece, Cyprus, Egypt. Accordingly, the two memoranda of understanding (MoU) are cancelled and have not entered into effect. In view of one of its parties, Libya has not completed its required legal procedures” Minister LAHWEEJ stated.

In general, I strongly believe that the time has come for the EU to reconsider our position. Turkey is a neo-ottoman regime with aggressive policies that go against European values and Rule of Law, but also against our strategic interests in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. The AKP Administration of Turkey is committing crimes against humanity inside and outside Turkey and supporting jihadist regimes, just like with the Tripoli regime and Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt MAVRIDES MEP said.

The European Union has to defend its vital security and economic interests vigorously, in line with EU and International Law by imposing strict economic measures towards Turkey, without attempting to ignore the assertiveness of Ankara, its military build up in the Mediterranean, and increasing contempt to the international law” he added.

Tripoli administration Al-Wefaq sealed two memoranda with Turkey – the first one on demarcation of the maritime border, and the second memo on security and military cooperation, – both of them rejected by the Interim government of Libya in unanimity with people’s representatives in the Parliament.

Italy faces uninterrupted migrant flows

The ship Ocean Viking has docked in the Italian port of Messina, carrying 213 migrants collected at sea.The operation happened in parallel with the efforts of the other NGOs, also transporting groups of migrants to Italy from African coast. (Imqge: illustration).

A charity rescue NGO vessel brought 213 migrants to coast to Italy after being granted permission to dock in the port of Messina, motivating request by the poor weather conditions.
The migrants had been boarded by the Ocean Viking in three acts rescue operation.A pregnant woman with twins had already been evacuated from the ship by helicopter.

Taking into consideration the situation of the migrant flows to Italy, the government, long with Germany, France and Malta jointly applied to the European Commission to initiate the relocation of these migrants, according to the Italian Interior Ministry.

Italian authorities have also agreed to grant another NGO vessel – the Open Arms – access to a port to disembark 62 African migrants, the founder of the Spanish rescue mission said .

https://www.dw.com/en/key-eu-countries-agree-on-sea-migrant-redistribution-scheme/a-50549610

In spite of the seaosn rough conditions at sea, the flow of migrants from Africa has a steady growth.

“The NGOs orders and the Interior Ministry obeys: 62 immigrants land in Taranto and 78 others in Pozzallo. Government of incapable and calabraghe! With the ports open, more landings, more departures, more deaths at sea and more business for traffickers. Shame! #portichiusi” Matteo Salvini wrote in his Twitter micro blog.

After Lega leqder Matteo Salvini has left the government, the NGOs expericend a great releif, and dobouled their efforts to transport migrnats from Libyan coasts to Europe. According to the existing Dublin rules, the country which hosts the migrants first has full responsibility to provide for them in accordqnce with international obligations and standards.

Libyan Foreign Minister exchanges opinions with MEPs

Anna van Densky from Brussels 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.

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