Tag Archives: Libya

Libya PM Says Foreigners Are Arming Strongman’s Tripoli Push

Libya PM Says Foreigners Are Arming Strongman’s Tripoli PushPrime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj declined to identify the countries. Sarraj says he won’t negotiate until Haftar withdraws his forces, and that he’s disappointed by the muted international reaction to the assault. U.S. President Donald Trump spoke to Haftar last week, recognizing his role in combating terrorism, as Washington and Russia stymied a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire.



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REFILE-UPDATE 2-Italy, France spar over tackling escalating conflict in Libya

REFILE-UPDATE 2-Italy, France spar over tackling escalating conflict in LibyaTRIPOLI/ROME, April 11 (Reuters) – France and Italy wrangled on Thursday over how best to tackle renewed conflict in Libya as a bid by eastern forces under Khalifa Haftar to seize Tripoli stalled in the face of strong resistance on the capital’s southern outskirts. The United Nations said the fighting between Haftar’s forces and troops under the internationally-backed Tripoli government had killed at least 56 people and forced 8,000 to flee their homes in the city in the last week.



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France blocks EU call to stop Haftar's offensive in Libya

France blocks EU call to stop Haftar's offensive in LibyaThe draft statement, seen by Reuters, would have said that the military attack launched by Haftar on Tripoli was “endangering the civilian population, disrupting the political process and risks further escalation with serious consequences for Libya and the wider region, including the terrorist threat.” Thousands of residents fled on Wednesday as Haftar’s forces – called the Libyan National Army (LNA) – and troops loyal to the Tripoli government battled on the outskirts of Libya’s capital. France and Italy disagree on how to handle the latest escalation in the troubled north African country. France, which has oil assets in eastern Libya, has provided military assistance in past years to Haftar in his eastern stronghold, Libyan and French officials say.. Italy, the former colonial power and a big player in Libya’s oil sector, has supported the U.N.-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj.



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Tripoli offensive highlights global splits on Libya

Tripoli offensive highlights global splits on LibyaParis (AFP) – The attempted offensive by Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar on Tripoli has thrown into sharp relief the divisions between world powers over how to end the chaos that has riven Libya since the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi.



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UN chief calls for immediate halt to Libya fighting

UN chief calls for immediate halt to Libya fightingUN chief Antonio Guterres on Monday appealed for an immediate halt to fighting in Libya, after strongman Khalifa Haftar’s forces claimed an airstrike on Tripoli’s only functioning airport. Thousands have fled violence in the capital city, according to the United Nations, since Haftar launched a surprise assault last week which has left dozens dead. Secretary-General Guterres “urges the immediate halt of all military operations in order to de-escalate the situation and prevent an all-out conflict,” said a UN statement late Monday.



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Libya fighting escalates as Khalifa Haftar's forces bomb Tripoli airport

Libya fighting escalates as Khalifa Haftar's forces bomb Tripoli airportFighting for control of the Libyan capital escalated dramatically on Monday when rebel forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar carried out an airstrike on city's only operating airport.  The attack came amid reports that the internationally recognised government of National Accord led by Fayyez al-Sarraj had begun conscripting migrants held in detention centres to fight against Gen Haftar's troops. At least one jet was seen firing rockets at the Mitiga airport in northern Tripoli on Monday afternoon. The airport said it would be closed for the foreseeable future. No casualties were reported. At least 2,800 people have been displaced since Gen Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army launched an assault on Tripoli last week. The LNA said on Monday that 19 of its soldiers had been killed in recent days. The Tripoli based health ministry, on the government side, said at least 25 people including fighters and civilians had been killed and 80 wounded in fighting to the south of the capital. The World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations' health agency, said two doctors had been killed while treating civilians and trying to evacuate patients from combat zones in the city. Territorial control in Libya Ahmed Al Mandhari, the WHO's regional director for the eastern Mediterranean, said in a statement Monday that the targeting of doctors was "unacceptable." Gen Haftar announced his assault on Thursday, citing the need to clear the city of "terrorists". Tracking progress on the ground is difficult partly because both sides are made up of loose alliances of militia groups rather than professional armies. But despite clashes in the southern suburbs, the LNA advance appears to have made little progress. Residents said LNA troops retreated from the former international airport, 15 miles south of the city centre, on Monday. Analysts say Gen Haftar’s assault has compelled the disparate militia groups who control western Libya to band together, presenting a harder target than he may have anticipated.   “He created that alliance by going in to early, too strong,” said Jalel Harchaoui, a research fellow at the Clingdendael Institute, a think tank. Khalifa Haftar shaking hands with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres Credit: AFP/Getty Images “It prompted potential opponents who were considering siding with Haftar to do an about face and fight him.” Mr Harchaoui warned that the international community appeared to have little if any diplomatic leverage to reign in the fighting and that the situation could “worsen dramatically.” “If the airstrikes continue escalating, you could see the two camps committed in a very blind manner to saving face, and that means a lot of destruction,” he said. Meanwhile reports emerged that the internationally recognised government is offering migrants held in detention centres their freedom in exchange for military service. Haftar's forces have come up against militias supporting the UN-backed government Credit: REUTERS/Hani Amara Thousands of asylum seekers, many of them sub-Saharan Africans, are stuck in detention centres along the coast around Tripoli, hoping to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.  Many did national service in their own countries. “Reports of some Sudanese being released, given military uniforms and told that they may have to fight,” Vincent Cochetel, special envoy of the UNHCR for the central Mediterranean, wrote on Twitter. He also said that the situation for asylum seekers in Libya is becoming increasingly desperate as fighting escalates between the two sides. Vehicles and militants, reportedly from the Misrata militia, gather to join Tripoli forces, in Tripoli Credit: STRINGER/EPA-EFE/REX “Unverifiable reports received suggesting that no more food is reaching some detention centres in Libya, where refugees and militants are kept arbitrarily,” Mr Cochetel said. Medicins San Frontieres, an NGO, said the fighting has left refugees and migrants in detention centres "exceptionally vulnerable." "The Ain Zara detention centre is now in an area of active fighting, with more than 600 vulnerable people trapped inside, including women and children. In another detention centre, reports suggest that some people are being conscripted to work for armed groups," the group said in a statement.   The European Union's foreign policy chief called on all sides to stop fighting and start talking. Speaking at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, Federica Mogherini said all sides should "go back to the negotiating table under the auspices of the UN and make sure that the Libyan people get what they really want, which is peace and stability for their country." Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, said Britain was engaging “all partners” to send the message that there is “no military solution” to the crisis. Earlier he said there was “no justification” for the LNA assault.



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Russia blocks UN Libya statement singling out Haftar's forces

Russia blocks UN Libya statement singling out Haftar's forcesRussia on Sunday blocked a UN Security Council statement that would have called on forces loyal to Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar to halt their advance on Tripoli, diplomats said. Moscow insisted that the formal statement urge all Libyan forces to stop fighting, but the proposed change was opposed by the United States, council diplomats said. After a closed-door meeting on Friday, the council called on Haftar’s self-proclaimed Libyan National Army to “halt its military activity” in an agreed statement to the press.



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Q&A: Why fighting has again plunged Libya into chaos

Q&A: Why fighting has again plunged Libya into chaosCAIRO (AP) — Libya has been plunged into chaos again, with forces loyal to a polarizing military commander marching on the capital and trading fire with militias aligned with a weak U.N.-backed government.



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Libya clashes over Tripoli escalate as city's airport is hit

Libya clashes over Tripoli escalate as city's airport is hitBENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Clashes between rival Libyan forces for control of Tripoli escalated on Monday as the death toll from days of fighting rose to at least 51, including both combatants and civilians, and the city's only functioning airport said it was hit by an airstrike.



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U.N. to hold Libya conference as planned despite surge in fighting: envoy

U.N. to hold Libya conference as planned despite surge in fighting: envoyG7 foreign ministers warned eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar to halt his thrust on Tripoli, menacing the internationally recognized government based there, or face possible international action. Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) said on Friday its forces had advanced into the capital’s southern outskirts and taken its former international airport. Its spokesman Ahmed Mismari said 14 LNA troops had been killed so far The offensive by the LNA, which is allied to a parallel administration based in the main eastern city of Benghazi, intensifies a power struggle that has fractured the oil-producing country since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.



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