Tag Archives: Tripoli

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.

Salvini trades barbs with Sea Watch NGO

 Italy Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has criticized the Sea-Watch NGO after it refused to take 52 migrants collected off Libya this week to Tripoli. The Sea Watch 3 vessel, which is close to the Italian island of Lampedusa, at one stage seemed to have turned towards Malta, but Salvini said it is not navigating there.

No Malta,” Salvini explained via Twitter micro blog. “The #SeaWatch NGO ship has changed route again: it is swaying in the Mediterranean playing a game on the backs of the immigrants, even though it asked for a port and obtained it in Tripoli.

We are witnessing the umpteenth show,Salvini continued his criticism of the NGO. “They say they are good, but they are kidnapping women and children in the middle of the sea”.

Sea-Watch refuses to anchor in Tripoli for safety reasons. “Forcibly taking rescued people back to a war-torn country, having them imprisoned and tortured, is a crime,” the German NGO said.

Meanwhile the Italian government, based on its right to protect sovereign sea borders the same way as land ones,  has endorsed a new decree that would apply to NGO ships with illegal migrants rescued at sea to Italy without official permission fined up to 50,000 euros.

Matteo Salvini rhetoric has hardened after his Lega party impressive victory in the European elections 2019, bringing him a approval of more than a third of the Italian electorate.

In spite of the Interior minister reluctance to accept illegal migrants, the NGO has been successfully using the combination international Conventions endorsed after the WWII dating from colonial era, and the Law of the Sea to continue imposing the flows of illegal migrants on Italy.

EU grants €46 million to support Al Serraj in Tripoli

Probably for security reasons the European External Action Service has released a communication one day later  after the actual visit to Tripoli took place. The EU representatives from the EU Delegation to Libya, Operation Sophia and EUBAM met on 1st of August with the President of the Presidency Council, Fayez Al Serraj, and other Libyan officials in Tripoli, notably Deputy Minister of Defence Colonel Ewhida Abdullah Ewhida, the Chief of the Libyan Navy and the Chief of the Libyan Coastguard.

Discussions focused on the overall EU support to Libya and the Libyan needs, notably on capacity building for security institutions and the rule of law, border control and managing migration.

The mission took place just days after EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia, EUBAM Libya and the EU Liaison and Planning Cell supporting the peace and security process in Libya were renewed until December 2018.  On Operation Sophia, discussions focused on the implementation of the renewed mandate and tasks, notably on how to set up a monitoring mechanism to ensure the long-term efficiency of the training of the Libyan Coastguard.

The visit also followed the adoption of a new programme of €46 million under the EU Trust Fund for Africa on Friday 28 July, to reinforce the integrated migration and border management capacities of the Libyan authorities. It aims at stepping up activities in support of the Libyan Border- and Coast Guards to enhance their capacity to effectively manage the country’s borders. It complements the €90 million package adopted in April 2017 focused on the country stabilization and protection of IDPs, migrants, refugees and host communities in Libya.

The visit underlined the EU determination to support Libya, a close neighbour, at this important moment. EU financial support to Libya targets a wide range of sectors, among them health and education institutions, private sector development and local communities.


EU on clashes in Tripoli


Once again, violent clashes have erupted in Tripoli, while indiscriminate violence against citizens continues to affect a number of areas across Libya. (PHOTO: illustration)

“Violence will not resolve any of Libya’s political challenges. What is expected by all parties is that they refrain from unilateral acts of violence and ensure the protection of the Libyan, civilian population. The European Union therefore welcomes the ceasefire agreement announced last night”, – says the statement of EU top diplomat Federcia Mogherini.

“The attack earlier this week on the convoy of Prime Minister Fayez Al- Sarraj underlined the fragility of the situation and apparent attempts to disrupt the political process in Libya. The European Union continues to support fully the institutions set up under the Libyan Political Agreement, including the Presidency Council and the Government of National Accord and expects all stakeholders in Libya’s future to engage constructively in the political process, within the framework of the Libya Political Agreement and under the auspices of the United Nations, to find a permanent political solution acceptable to all the people of Libya. Only dialogue and unity can bring peace, stability and security to Libya and its people.”


The wreck of EU foreign policy


Anna van Densky, OPINION

With flows of migrants from Libyan cost, the EU Southern Neighbourhood, ravaged by Islamic terrorists, and the defrozen conflict in the EU Eastern Neighbourhood with tanks moving along the vicinities in Donetsk, the EU foreign affairs Council, 6.2.2017,  finds itself in the worst situation in years, if not in decades, since the Balkan war.

Both problems have one element in common: the active involvement of the EU in shaping of the future of the neighbouring countries. The zeal of the implementation of the Neighbourhood policy in Ukraine led to the break of pro-European and pro-Russian populations, while the overthrowing of the Libyan ‘tyrant’ caused a turmoil on a half of the African continent.
Due to the EU efforts Libya from a donor became an acceptor, requesting funds to keep the flows of migrants on its coasts. 200 000 euro of taxpayers money were pledged to UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), while the destiny of Colonel Gaddafi’s fortune of 200 000 billion, as reported shortly before his assassination, remains obscure. However,  even if donated as agreed the major question remains if there are structures and institutions able of the implementation of the programme to improve the conditions of migrants, and fight against the smugglers.
GNA hardly controls Tripoli, where recently an explosion next to Italian reopened Embassy brought into focus grave security concerns for corps diplomatique, already shuttered by the tragic death of US Ambassador Stevens.
The EU mission on its page still calls it an ‘exiting’ time:
“It is an exciting time to be in Libya as the country is seeking its path towards democracy and stability. Just over two years ago (! -av), the Libyan people showed to the world that popular will could prevail over a ruthless dictatorship. For their courage and determination, Libyans gained the admiration of the whole world”, – although unlike Italians they prefer to watch if from the safe distance of ‘Prestige Business Center Bloc’ in Tunis.
Obviously impossible to compare ravaged by jihadists Libya with the  ‘Anti-terrorist operation’ (ATO) of President Poroshenko in Ukraine, the latest active fighting at the front line in Avdeevka, next to Donetsk endangered Minsk agreements, showing the fragility of the situation there and a huge ambition of Kiev’s leadership to conclude ATO, even at cost of the devastation of once wealthy industrial region of coal-mining.
Till present on contrary to the EU expectations the prolonged restrictive measures against Russia have not delivered an expected result to force Kremlin to abandon its support to two self-proclaimed Republics of Lugansk and Donetsk.
However the sanctions have an effect of the European agricultural sector and business, suffering losses as the result of this policy: the rise of the anti-EU forces in old member states is too obvious to ignore even for myopic bureaucrats of the European external action service, risking to lose their jobs soon, while the European nations demand referendums on EU membership from their governments, profoundly unsatisfied with the impact of  EU foreign policies on their lives.

Mogherini to meet Lavrov


The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini to meet Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in coming weeks, according to communication of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

In view of the upcoming Foreign Affairs council on Monday,  6/2/2017, Mogherini discussed with Minister Lavrov a range of international issues, starting with the situation in Libya, and the perspectives of the political agreement after the visit of the Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj last week in Brussels, and the renewed committment of the EU to support UN-backed government in Tripoli. In spite of the financial and training assistance the EU pledged to Tripolitanians, the capacity of implementation of these plans remains unclear in fragmented and ravaged by multiple groups of Islamic terrorists country. Five years after Colonel Gaddafi’s assassination (20/10/2011)  Libya stays a failed state with competing centers of power: in the East field marshal Khalifa Haftar in oil-rich Cyrenaica, throwing his support to the Parliament in Tobruk, in the West the  Government of National Accord, hardly controlling Tripoli. Reportedly marshal Haftar has been intensely courted by Russians, in spite of his presumed closeness to US government during  exile in Virginia.


Minister Lavrov exchanged opinions on Syria, informing  on the experience of recent talks in Astana, while Mogherini  informed the minister the European initiative with the regional players and on the upcoming Brussels conference on the future of Syria.

Mogherini and Lavrov spoke at length about the escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine, stressing the need to stop fighting immediately, and to focus on full implementation of the Minsk agreements.


The exchange between Mogherini and Lavrov took place during a telephone conversation on 3 February 2017.

Photo: illustration


Tripoli: car bomb near Italian Embassy


A re-opened recently Italian embassy in the Libyan capital Tripoli was not damaged by the car bomb explosion near the building. Two carbonated bodies of jihadists were found in the car cage.  The stuff of the Embassy reported safe, although the sound of the blast was overheard in the entire vicinity. Some other vehicles were hit by explosions.

The social media sources suggest the scenario went wrong and the bomb exploded earlier than planned – the accident that saved many lives.

Till present none of numerous terroristic groups acting on Libyan territory claimed the responsibly.



Tobruk: Haftar's raising influence

General Khalifa Haftar


The visit of Libyan National Army Commander Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar at board of Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier reportedly to discuss the anti-terrorist strategy, stirred a whirlwind of comments concerning the future political reconstruction of Libya. The move interpreted by many experts as a sign of Kremlin’s definite choice to support Haftar as a future leader of the reconciled country.

Reportedly  during this week visit of the Russia aircraft carrier (10/01/2017) Haftar discussed with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu the ‘urgent issues’ of ongoing struggle against terrorism in Libya and Middle East.  The Russian Defence ministry issued a short statement without revealing of further details.

However the publicity surrounding the move stands for decisive step from Russian side to throw their support to a player  they consider the most successful and capable in the post-Gaddafi fragmented Libya.
The late visit continued a series of encounters between Russian government and Libyan Marshal, who already  travelled to Moscow to meet foreign minister Lavrov, requesting help in fighting Islamists.
Marshal Haftar diplomatic activity engaging  also France, Egypt and Arab Emirates at his side complimented his military success, has elevated him to highest ranks among political figures to lead the nation, becoming an architect of reconciled and stable Libya.
At present the National unity, or National Accord government based in Tripoli and backed by the UN,  is torn by internal struggle for influence and overall legitimacy. While the field general Kahlifa Haftar firmly established his power in the Eastern provinces (historical Cyrenaica), backing Tobruk parliament – House of representatives,  refusing to accept the power of Tripoli  establishment in the Parliament’s vote.
The Italian government hurried to reopened Embassy in Tripoli this week to context the growing Russian influence in the region.