Egypt's Al-Sisi, Bahrain's Hamad discuss bilateral relations, economic cooperation    Egypt's art scene and the June 30 Revolution    Egypt adopted a 'locally global lens' to ensure food security is restored: International Cooperation Minister    Korean Embassy in Cairo hosts 'Be a Korean Ambassador for a day' event    Paysky expands its Yalla Super App in UAE in partnership with major financial institution    Egypt's art scene and the June 30 Revolution    Egypt, EU discuss combating terrorism and illegal migration    Environment Minister reviews Egypt's viewpoints for COP 27    Egypt delivers joint statement on water and human rights at HRC    Egypt delivers joint statement on water and human rights at HRC    Egypt's art scene and the June 30 Revolution    Egypt's Health Minister, UNFPA representative discuss cooperation    U.S. 500 Global to open office in Egypt    Saudi wealth fund to buy new stakes in two Egyptian firms    Egypt's economy records 4.4% growth during Q1 –minister    'Sahsah' is a gift to my Egyptian fans: Nancy Ajram    'Sahsah' is a gift to my Egyptian fans: Nancy Ajram    'Sahsah' is a gift to my Egyptian fans: Nancy Ajram    Erdogan keen to end rupture with Egypt – Turkish media    I wish to win Ballon d'Or: Mo Salah    EFA holds urgent meeting to discuss Egyptian football crisis    Sharm El-Sheikh will host African Sumo Championship    Egypt's Sisi invited as chief guest for India's 75th Republic Day Celebrations    Tech giant Apple 'expresses interest' in acquiring Manchester United – report    Ivanka Trump explores "beauty of Egypt" by sharing family photos at Giza Pyramids    Egypt has signed projects worth $15 billion at COP27; environment minister says    Egypt launches 1st eco-friendly water bottle alternative to plastic during COP27    UAE's EAD, MOCCAE, Al Futtaim sign MoU to reduce single use plastics on sideline of COP27    Egypt operates solar-powered cars at 2 archaeological sites in Luxor    Egypt launches 200 Years of Continuing Science tourism campaign    QNB Group names TikToker Khaby Lame official FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 brand ambassador    Three possible scenarios as Egypt's central bank governor resigns – MP    Adele is living a love story, wants to be a homemaker    In Photos: Egypt swears in 13 new ministers after major Cabinet reshuffle    Egypt's Sisi names 13 ministers in Cabinet reshuffle    Spain: prosecutor seeks 8 years sentence for Shakira over tax evasion    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



Libya ceasefire progress?
Published in Ahram Online on 18 - 08 - 2020

The US ceasefire plan for the Sirte-Jufra line appears to be gaining diplomatic traction among European powers to whom it is an opportunity to regain the initiative after Turkish influence in the West and Russian influence in the east eclipsed other stakeholders in the Libyan conflict. Meanwhile, Ankara and Doha continue to build up their military and political support for the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).
On Monday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas made an unannounced visit to Tripoli to push for peace. Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and Qatari Defence Minister Khaled Bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah were also in the country. Three met separately with chairman of the Presidency Council Fayez Al-Sarraj and GNA Minister of Defence Fathi Bashagha.
Before his meeting with Al-Sarraj, Maas told journalists that he had come to Tripoli to “talk about ways out of this very dangerous situation” and urged the creation of a demilitarised zone in Sirte. He also warned of the “deceptive calm” that Libya is experiencing at the moment and that might lure some into complacency while outside powers “continue to massively arm the country while holding firm to their preconditions for a ceasefire”.
The German foreign minister said that Germany and European and international partners were prepared to support a political settlement to the Libyan crisis which, he feared, could spiral out of control in the event of military escalation. He also indicated that, after Tripoli, he planned to visit the UAE to meet his counterpart there, adding that Germany “expects the UAE to use [its] influence in a constructive manner and in the spirit of the Berlin Process”.
During his meeting with Maas, Al-Sarraj said his government had no objection to a ceasefire after it studies all its details and the “guarantees necessary to prevent a repetition of the aggression”. Asserting that the GNA was “the first to commit to the Berlin Process”, he recalled that he had signed the Russian-Turkish sponsored ceasefire agreement in Moscow on 12 January while Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar had refused. He warned of continued amassment of forces on the other side, referring to the Russian Wagner Group and “growing numbers of mercenaries”.
GNA Minister of the Interior Fathi Bashagha, in his meeting with Maas, urged Germany to include the Wagner Group in the European sanctions list. He underscored the GNA's preconditions for a ceasefire. Referring to eastern forces, he said that “all mercenaries and militias must leave Sirte and Jufra and the National Oil Company must be allowed to resume oil production as a first step in a peace process in which war criminals will have no political future.” He said that he had given Maas files “documenting the crimes perpetrated by the militias and mercenaries” belonging to Haftar.
Maas, while in Tripoli, also met separately with Chairman of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) Mustafa Sanalla, reiterating Germany's support for efforts to restore oil production. “During the meeting, the economic and environmental damages resulting from the blockade and the risks arising from them were discussed in relation to public safety, especially due to the militarisation of facilities and the presence of foreign mercenaries inside them,” read a statement posted on the NOC website.
“The meeting also addressed the importance of financial transparency in parallel with the restoration of security arrangements, the need to evacuate oil facilities of mercenaries and all manifestations of military presence, making them demilitarised buffer zones so that NOC employees can perform their work without jeopardising their lives, and not to use oil as a political bargaining chip, sparing it from military conflict.”
In his meetings with the Turkish and Qatari defence ministers while Maas was in Tripoli, Al-Sarraj discussed the amassment of eastern forces at the Sirte-Jufra front, programmes for building the defence and security capacities of GNA forces, and mechanisms for coordinating between the three countries' defence ministries, according to a statement released by Al-Sarraj's office. Following the meeting, Akar and Al-Attiyah visited the “Advisory Command Centre for Defence Cooperation and Training” that Ankara established as part of its military intervention on behalf of the GNA.
In a speech to Turkish military elements in Tripoli, Akar said that Ankara would continue to work “to realise its objectives in a lasting ceasefire in Libya” and to “preserve Libyan unity, peace and security.” He reiterated his government's support for the GNA and praised Qatar's support for it as well.
In eastern Libya, the House of Representatives in Tobruk reiterated the “exclusive right of the House or its delegates to represent the Libyan people”. In a statement released Sunday, the House added: “Any claim to the contrary is a crime punishable under current Libyan law in accordance with recognised criminal terms.” The statement was a response to attempts on the part of a group of Western based political forces to secure foreign support for the creation of new entities to take part in the political dialogue scheduled to convene shortly. A “Fezzan Council” was created for this purpose three weeks ago and is said to have received European support.
The House of Representatives, in its statement, cautioned against “the folly of pursuing any action, motivated by narrow transient considerations, that could jeopardise the integrity and unity of the state or render any inch of Libyan land vulnerable to foreign occupation and the return of colonialism under new guises”. According to the statement, lawmakers were currently deliberating a bill that would authorise “whatever actions necessary against any state, foreign entity or company, or regional or international organisation that deals with or recognises anybody that does not belong to an official institution of the Libyan state.”
The House of Representatives has been increasingly divided since April 2019 when Field Marshal Haftar launched the military operation to secure control of Tripoli and oust the GNA. Turkish military intervention on the side of the GNA reversed the tide of that war.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 26 August, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly


Clic here to read the story from its source.